Principal’s Welcome Letter



Aloha! Welcome to Soldier Hollow Charter School! This coming school year we will be celebrating our 20th Anniversary! The school began as Sundance Mountain School and is one of the oldest charter schools in Utah. The school began in 1999 in the Sundance Mountains with only 20 students. After three years, the school moved to Soldier Hollow at Wasatch State Park, the Nordic skiing venue of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games.
In 2017, a new school was built on 10 acres in Charleston, which overlooks Deer Creek Reservoir and has beautiful views of Mt. Timpanogos. Portable classrooms and playground equipment from the previous location were moved to the new site. Next year we will welcome over 300 students from pre-k through eighth grade. Our dedicated teachers and staff are very passionate about place-based learning and environmental education. Our students have many unique learning opportunities in the classroom and in the outdoors. Some of these experiences include cross country skiing, art, science trips, music, student performances, environmental activities, and service.
I was hired on March 15, 2018 and am honored to have been selected by the board as the new principal. I have worked as an educator for 18 years and feel privileged to be able to lead a school that is focused on place-based learning and environmental education through inquiry and creativity. We live in one of the most beautiful parts of this state and have so many great educational opportunities all around us. I love the outdoors and believe we all have a responsibility to learn about and help care for our environment.
I grew up in Utah, California, and Hawaii. I spent two years in Ecuador and am fluent in Spanish. I married Heather Shumway, who was born and raised on Oahu, Hawaii. She graduated with a bachelor’s in vocal performance. We have four girls and three boys that range from twenty to six years old.
I earned a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University-Hawaii in Elementary and Special Education. I spent the first five years of my career teaching special education in Las Vegas middle schools, during which time I earned a master’s in Educational Leadership at UNLV. I then worked as an elementary school assistant principal and as a middle school dean.
We have lived in Heber since 2008. I have taught fourth grade at J.R. Smith Elementary School, worked as the Wasatch County School District assessment and secondary curriculum specialist, taught sixth grade at Timpanogos Intermediate School, and have worked with interns and practicum students as the facilitator at Heber Valley Elementary School.
I enjoy spending time with family and friends in the outdoors. I have been snowboarding and skateboarding for over 30 years. I love hiking, exploring National Parks, camping, and photography. I have also enjoyed performing in various community theater productions with High Valley Arts and Timpanogos Valley Theater.
I am very excited about the opportunity to lead Soldier Hollow Charter School. Please feel free to email me any questions, concerns, or suggestions at or call me at 435-654-1347.
I look forward to working with the board, staff, students, and parents to make 2018-2019 a productive, fun, memorable, and amazing year! Go Ospreys!!!

-Mr. Murdock

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