Blog Posts

November 24, 2022

Celebrating Student Leadership

I had the pleasure this week of meeting with around fifty of Yale Secondary’s Leadership 12 students. They are an amazing and diverse group of go-getters who help to make their school and community better through service. In addition to the work they do, they are also curious about leadership and routinely invite leaders from various parts of the community to talk about their roles and perspectives on leadership. This week I was the invited guest. Among the things they wanted to learn more about were my background, how I became superintendent, as well as the joys and challenges of the job.

November 8, 2022

In Remembrance

Many of you will know that I am a student of the World Wars, and that over the years I have written about the profound respect I have for our veterans who have put their lives on the line for the cause of freedom. As a teacher I carefully curated stories for my students about pivotal battles and Canadian heroes who helped to pave the way for the freedoms we sometimes take for granted. It was always a treat to welcome veterans into my classroom, and students always came away with a greater appreciation for the courageous lives of our service men and women, as well as the horrors of war.

October 14, 2022

Shadow a Student

As part of my personal inquiry into the student experience in our district, I have met with groups of students from each of our high schools over each of the last few years. Generally, I have asked our school leaders to ensure that the student group is diverse and represents a range in ages, gender, abilities, race and gender identities, etc. In a large high school, it is not difficult to get a diverse group, but I suspect it challenging to get a truly representative group of students who together can paint a fulsome picture of the student experience for me and the administration

September 1, 2022

My Hopes for This School Year

Now in my thirty-fifth year as an educator, I still look forward to the beginning of the school year with anticipation. It still feels like yesterday, but three and a half decades ago, I started my career in Peace River South School District as a grade 6/7 teacher in Devereaux Elementary School. I remember when I first saw the ad for the position, going to a map to see where the heck this place was. The principal, Mr. Evans, interviewed me over the phone and offered me the job shortly thereafter.

June 30, 2022

In Recognition of Our Ubuntu

This time last year, I posted a blog expressing my profound gratitude to all our staff for getting us through what was a tremendously demanding year. As I look back on this past school year, I continue to be truly grateful for how we have managed an even more challenging year than we anticipated.

June 16, 2022

The Launch of Our Equity Website

One of the lasting legacies of the COVID-19 pandemic will be its exposure of pre-existing societal inequities to a wider audience. While inequities have existed in society and schools since they were created, the pandemic has caused many of us to see them with greater clarity. The murder of George Floyd perhaps served as a catalyzing moment, but I suspect there were more forces at play.

June 7, 2022

The Bridge

We all have a history, some of which we would change if we could go back, but we can’t. On the other hand, it would be a mistake upon a mistake not to learn from it. This also can apply to whole countries that have committed unconscionable acts. Canada is no exception for its inhumane treatment of Indigenous People. Leaving them deeply wounded, scared and bewildered with generational trauma. In other words, the gravity of the damage is so severe it has left the first people with long-term repercussions. Impacting them mentally, physically, and spiritually. And it isn’t over.

May 20, 2022

As the Children Watch…

In my travels to schools, one of the things I explore with adults and students alike are their reflections on life and learning over the last two years. I invariably start with the idea that humankind has not seen anything quite like this for over a hundred years. I am curious about what people are observing and learning, how they feel, and how they are making sense of all this. Of course, I get a wide range of responses from the various people I engage. The fact is that a lot has happened in the world, and some of us are still trying to make sense of it.

April 28, 2022

Speaking Your Truth: Student Voices (from WJ Mouat)

The most recent stop on my student voice inquiry journey was at WJ Mouat. I continue to be fascinated by the diversity of thought about certain issues, and simultaneously the remarkable consistency around other topics. Rather than editorialize, I will Arianna (Gr. 9), Omran (Gr. 12), Jazzi (Gr. 11), Nickolas (Gr. 11), Bella (Gr. 11), Lily (Gr. 12), Nathan (Gr. 11), Jayda (Gr. 12), and Natalie (Gr. 12) speak their truth:

When you think about school, what is the first word that comes to mind? Why?

March 10, 2022

Trust the Village

I visited the temporary Upper Sumas Elementary site this week to see how the staff and students were adjusting to their “new” environment (For those of you who have been around as long as I have been, this was the old Abby Elementary School site). As I approached the front doors, I saw a class of students standing in circle in a little garden patch. I made eye contact with the teacher, Ms. Marr, who invited me to join their circle. She told me that they had just finished sharing what they were grateful for and invited me to do the same.