Tolman began teaching in 1968 and was made a principal in 1977, making him the longest-tenured school principal in the Davis District. He has served at Holbrook, Stewart, East Layton, Mountain View, Bountiful, and Reading Elementaries.
"When he goes to a new school he leaves a big void that's hard for the next principal to fill," said Poll. "Staff members are so loyal to him that some follow him to the new school because they want to work with him again."
Tolman has followed in the steps of his grandfather, David R. Tolman, who was principal of Bountiful's Stoker Elemen-tary for 37 years. Tolman Elementary School was named after David R. Tolman. Jay Tolman was a student at Stoker while his grandpa was principal.
"My grandpa used to call me out of class and give me 50 cents to get a milk shake at the nearby Dairy Queen. Then we'd share the treat in grandpa's office." Though Jay Tolman, too, has had grandchildren in his schools, he laughed that "this would not work today!"
Tolman has always tried to remember that "we're dealing with parents' two most prized possessions--their children and their (tax) money. I try always to treat kids and their parents with respect and kindness."
As he looks back on his career in educational administration, the thing he's enjoyed the most is getting to know the children.
"They are the reason we exist in education--to be an advocate for them."
And Tolman always fights to get the best for the students in his school. Poll noted that, "He battles for his school in getting staffing and funding and everything that is available."
Tolman has found that the biggest challenge in public education is "managing your resources, both personnel and financial, to meet the needs."
Technology, particularly computers, has made the biggest change in education, according to Tolman. He remembers the day when getting one Apple computer per school was a "big deal."
He finds that the students are even better than when he started teaching, but that expectations from parents, as well as the state and federal governments, have increased.
Tolman considers that he's not "retiring," but moving into his "post-career life." Among other pursuits, he wants to continue being involved in elementary education as a reading tutor.
Tolman and his wife, Valerie, are parents of four grown children, of whom two have been teachers.