Interim principal appointed amid controversial investigation at West High School

West high walkout  (2).png
An interim principal will take over at West High School Tuesday amid the controversial investigation into the school's current leader, Principal Ford White. (Photo: KUTV)

An interim principal will take over at West High School Tuesday while the controversial investigation into Principal Ford White continues.

The Salt Lake City School District announced Stacey Briggs, a former principal and teacher, will be the acting leader of the school.

The letter made no mention of the ongoing investigation.

White was put on administrative leave after he gave several students a ride home on Nov. 15. Officials say the teens were drinking alcohol on school property.

The school district says they are "looking into every detail" of the actions of those involved.

Two weeks ago, hundreds of students walked out of class in support of White.

By student accounts, White is well liked.

Although most students at the walkout were upset that he was placed on leave, some felt the district acted appropriately.

"They could have gotten in a car, incapable of driving. He took them home and they got there safe," Jayden Bush, who feels the principal did the right thing, told 2News.

Cass Mounga said morally, White did the right thing in driving the students home so they would be safe. Ethically, she believes he was wrong disobey district policy. However, she strongly disagrees with the district's decision to put White on leave.

Read the letter from Salt Lake City School District Superintendent Lexi Cunningham here:

Dear West High School community,

Thank you again for your patience as we continue our ongoing investigation. While our policy remains to not comment on personnel matters, what I can share with you is that student safety has been our number one focus throughout this investigation.

I want to inform you that starting tomorrow, Tuesday, December 3rd, Mrs. Stacey Briggs will be the interim principal at West High School. Mrs. Briggs has been serving our district as the Director of Focus Schools since the fall of 2018. In that capacity, she has worked closely with six of our elementary schools (Meadowlark, North Star, Rose Park, Escalante, Bennion, and Riley) and with East High School to help these schools achieve targeted academic success.

With her unique background as a principal in one of Utah’s most ethnically diverse high schools, her experience in running rigorous IB/magnet programs, her own academic and professional qualifications, and her already-proven record while serving in seven of our school communities, Mrs. Briggs is ready to help West High School students succeed.

Mrs. Briggs has more than 20 years of experience as an educator, connecting with students and families from diverse backgrounds and cultures. She is a former high school and junior high school principal, as well as a former Math (L IV) and Spanish teacher. She has helped start two IB programs, including most recently, the IB Programme at Ogden High School, a school whose demographics are similar to West’s, when she served as principal there from 2011 to 2016. Mrs. Briggs was named Ogden School District’s “Administrator of the Year” in 2013 while serving as Ogden High School’s principal and in 2009 was a finalist for the Utah Association of Secondary School Principals “Assistant Principal of the Year” award during her time as an assistant principal at Provo High School.

She is a fluent Spanish speaker and has a background in Gifted and Talented education. She even helped start a 7th/8th grade gifted magnet program at Provo High School, which was modeled after West High’s ELP Program. Mrs. Briggs has a strong academic background and enjoys working with teachers and students in the classroom. She holds a Master’s degree in Educational Leadership and a B.A. in Mathematics Education with a Spanish Teaching minor from Brigham Young University.

I am confident Mrs. Briggs can provide strong leadership at this time. She shares my commitment to providing our West High School students with equitable educational opportunities to prepare them for a promising future, and I hope you’ll take the time to get to know her. Don’t hesitate to reach out to Mrs. Briggs at

And, as always, please reach out to my office if you have any questions or concerns. You may reach me at


Dr. Lexi Cunningham