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Legacy of Dana History

Many in Arcadia, even the students and teachers of Dana Middle School, are not aware of Dana’s very own Joseph Rodley Bagnall. Who was he? Where was he from? What relation does he have with Dana Middle School, in particular?

Emily Zheng

<Editor’s Note: This is a guest opinion blog by Emily Zheng, a recent graduate of Dana Middle School.>

Joseph Rodney Bagnall

From 1953 to 1955, Bagnall  earned a Master’s Degree from Claremont Graduate School in Claremont, Ca. From 1955 to 1956, he served as Director of Adult Education in Arcadia Unified School District. From 1956 to 1966 he served as the first Principal of the Richard Henry Dana Middle School here in Arcadia.

Florence and Joseph Rodley Bagnall, 1926

Born in a log cabin three years before the Wright brothers made their groundbreaking flight, Joseph Rodley Bagnall’s life spanned innovative moments in history when automobiles replaced horse-drawn buggies and air travel evolved into space travel. He was born and raised in Utah, spending his elementary school days in Chester and attending high school at Snow Academy in Ephraim.

In 1927 Bagnall married Florence Noland of Mt. Pleasant. He finished his Bachelor’s Degree at University of Utah shortly after and began teaching at an elementary school in Salem.

Joseph R. Bagnall Birthday Photo at 100 Years of Age

During the Great Depression he taught at Hamilton Elementary School and Moroni High school. During this time, Bagnall studied part time at the University of Utah to prepare for a career in educational administration. He was hired as Superintendent of the North Sanpete School District in 1940 and continued as Superintendent until 1945.

Joseph R. Bagnall died May 27, 2001, a few months after reaching his 100th birthday. His legacy still lives on inside all of us in Arcadia, especially in Dana Middle School students.


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