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Board Member Spotlight: Erin Sullivan

Board Member Spotlight: Erin Sullivan

By Steph Duffy, Community & Events Manager


For many in the McGillis community, affinity for the school comes in part through shared experiences, from weekly Shabbat, to Family Groups, to Ethics-in-Action lessons.


Two community members in particular—Joanne Slotnik and Erin Sullivan—have notable overlaps between them: They have both served on the McGillis Board of Trustees, and they have both been parents of McGillis students. But their bond goes even further: They have both raised their children in the exact same Avenues home.


Joanne recalls sitting at the kitchen island in her 4th Avenue home in 2000, when she read in The Salt Lake Tribune that the Douglas School building was going to be surplussed. From that point, Joanne became actively involved in helping The McGillis School become established in its current space and become a vibrant 501(c)(3) independent K-8 school. Both of Joanne’s children attended McGillis and she served on the Board of Trustees for many years. Her daughter, Dory Trimble, a McGillis graduate of the Class of 2000, also served on the Board.


In 2014, Joanne and her husband, Steve Trimble, sold their home to Erin and Tim Sullivan. One year later, the Sullivans’ daughter entered Kindergarten at McGillis, followed by their son a few years later. Erin joined the McGillis Board of Trustees in 2019, currently serving as the Chair of the Governance Committee and Vice President of the Executive Committee. Erin brings her experience as a lawyer, protecting civil rights, increasing equal opportunity, and improving physical access at the University of Utah, to her work on the McGillis Board. Like Joanne, Erin has helped move McGillis forward, all while sitting at the same kitchen island on 4th Avenue. Erin's experience included COVID-related adjustments, such as participating in Board meetings over Zoom, and helping her children with remote learning during the early months of the pandemic.


Whether in the initial McGillis years or in the School’s current era as a 30-year-old institution, both women have a similar view on their families’ McGillis experiences. Joanne noted that in looking back on the early years, no one could imagine what McGillis would become. “It has retained a special feel from the beginning in large part because of how we manifest the values in everything we do,” Joanne shared.


Erin agreed, adding that it is an exciting time for the School as it grows into its next phase, while striving to maintain all of the things that make McGillis such a unique place. “It is a privilege,” she said, “to be a guardian of a school we love—as a parent, as well as a Board member.”