Deb Hren 2007
Debra Taylor Hren, 37, a member of the
Grand County High Class of 1987, has long been involved in
a wide variety of different activities.
“She’s the most multi-tasking person I’ve
ever met,” says her husband Steve, a science teacher
at GCHS. “And she’s good at everything she does.”
As a student at GCHS, Deb was involved in various sports and
activities. Nicknamed “Too Tall” Taylor, the 6-foot
athlete starred for the Lady Devils’ volleyball and basketball
teams, and was named to the Academic All-State team in both
sports. Although the Lady Devils made strong showings in the
volleyball playoffs during her playing years, they didn’t
take their first-ever state title until the fall of 1987, a
few months after Deb graduated.
While in high school, the ever-busy Deb also participated in
band, Honor Society, yearbook, Girls State, and various other
After graduation, Deb played volleyball and softball for Utah
Valley State College in Orem, where she earned her associates
degree. She then attended college at the University of Mississippi,
where she played volleyball and ran track. Shortly after graduating
from Ole Miss with a bachelors degree in education, Deb moved
back to her hometown of Moab and landed a teaching job with
Grand County School District.
Although she was originally hired to teach at Helen M. Knight
Intermediate School, Deb ended up at Grand County High for
the 1992-93 school year, her first year of teaching. She taught
PE and health at GCHS and was the assistant volleyball coach.
Incidentally, Deb is related to the late Helen M. Knight herself
(a noted Grand County schools superintendent) through the Taylor
and Knight sides of her family.
It was just before the start of that 1992-93 school year that
she met her future husband Steve, a Colorado native who has
been teaching science and biology at GCHS since 1989. Deb and
Steve were married in July of 1993, and Deb taught school for
one more year, this time at HMK (5th grade), after which she
quit teaching to begin raising a family.
Deb and Steve are the proud parents of five children. Oldest
daughter Taylor, 12, is a 7th grader at Grand County Middle
School. Son CJ, 9, attends HMK, and son Chris, 7, attends Red
Rock Elementary. Rounding out the family are the twin 1-year-old
babies, Rhiannon and Nicholas.
Some of Deb’s most memorable school teachers include
business teacher Pat Richeson, volleyball coach Kendra Tomsic,
Spanish teacher Lin Kolb, and social studies teachers Mr. Hillman
and Donna Brownell. She also enjoyed Tom Till’s AP English
class as well as photography and yearbook. She says she also
liked diagramming sentences in Mr. Val Maughan’s English
class. “Math was actually my favorite subject, though,” she
adds, mentioning the influence of geometry teacher Mr. Lewis
and trigonometry teacher Gene Leonard. Finally, junior high
band teacher Mr. Negley and high school marching band teacher
Mr. Jim Nissen were also positive influences. “I really
liked going with the band and sports teams on those long bus
trips,” Deb adds.
Deb Hren 1987
Deb is well-known for her tireless volunteer
efforts on behalf of various civic groups and organizations,
including Girl Scouts and 4-H. She has been a Girl Scout troop
leader for more than a decade. This year, local Girl Scout
Troop 427 had no other volunteers for the daunting role of “cookie
mom,” so Deb quietly added that to her already-full to-do
list. Daughter Taylor has been the troop’s top cookie
seller for the past several years. “When we go to Monticello
to play volleyball in a couple weeks, we’re going to
take down all the cookies Taylor sold to people down there
so that she can deliver them,” Deb said.
Deb’s mother Peggy was recently elected to her second
term as Grand County Treasurer, before which she worked in
the county clerk’s office for some 20 years. Deb’s
father Burke Taylor grew up in Moab and graduated from GCHS
in 1957. Deb has two siblings: a brother. Norman, who graduated
from GCHS in 1984 and now lives in California, and a sister,
Sue Nielsen, GCHS Class of 1994, who lives in Heber City, Utah.
In the fall of 2004, Deb won election to the five-member Grand
County Board of Education “The election was coming up,
and someone just suggested that I run for it,” recalls
Deb, who had never run for public office before. “I thought
it would be a way that I could still be involved in the education
process, without having to be away from home full-time, like
In January, she reached the halfway point in her four-year
term on the school board, a position that Deb says she enjoys.
In her spare time, Deb also operates a wholesale bulk food
business from her home. In past years, she has worked at a
local convenience store, as a substitute school teacher, and
even sold marble gravestones for awhile. She has operated her
own preschool called “Rock Tots” since 1999. She
and Steve have also served as foster parents on numerous occasions
over the years.
Deb’s hobbies include sewing, crocheting, baking, and
spending time with her family. She has also coached volleyball,
basketball, track, and softball, and has run the community’s
youth volleyball program since 1995.
Always a Red Devil at heart, Deb and her family continue to
support GCHS sports and activities. “We go to the games
whenever we can, and wear red on Fridays,” she says,
adding that she still enjoys singing “Red and White,
Old Grand High” school song with the crowd at the games. “I
still know every word!” she notes.
“It’s such a beautiful place to be,” says
Deb of her hometown. “From skiing in the mountains to
hiking and biking on the red rocks, there’s so many possibilities
in such a small area.”
“Plus, I feel like we know everyone here, like one big
family,” Deb adds.