Nielson replaces outgoing superintendent, Dr. Ed Lyman, who resigned his position earlier this month after spending less than one year at the head of the district.
Nielson will serve as the associate superintendent beginning immediately through the month of June. On July 1, he will begin a one-year appointment as interim superintendent.
The school board will begin a search for a permanent superintendent beginning in December.
A school superintendent generally works on a two-year contract that begins July 1 on even-numbered years. As a result, Nielson will fill the void as interim superintendent until the next two-year period begins on July 1, 2018.
Nielson outlined two major goals as he begins his service, including “strengthening the unity in the district, and doing better at what we say we do.”
Nielson said he hopes to strengthen unity both between the schools in the northern and the schools in the southern area of the district, and increase the unity between the schools and the district office.
“I think that the district is on point on what we are trying to do, we just need to do it better.”
Nielson has spent the majority of his life in the San Juan School District as a student, teacher, and administrator.
The new interim superintendent was born and raised in Bluff, where he attended the local school before the family moved to Blanding when he was in the seventh grade. He is a graduate of San Juan High School.
Nielson received degrees from Snow College, Southern Utah State College, and Utah State University, where he earned a Masters degree in educational administration with a focus on gifted and talented programs.
Nielson returned the San Juan School District in 1990 as a teacher at Monticello High School.
After teaching for several years, Nielson spent nearly three years as the assistant principal at MHS before spending five years as the principal of Monticello Elementary School.
Nielson then transferred to the district office, where he has served as elementary school supervisor, secondary school supervisor, and supervisor of K-12 education.
Nielson and his wife, Lea Ann, have five children and seven grandchildren.
The San Juan School District serves approximately 3,000 students in 12 schools spread across San Juan County.