June 26, 2020 Message to Members

What’s Important

In my two years as President of the BCPVPA, I have honestly experienced new things every day. Although I had served as a Director on the Board, and had a year under my belt as President-Elect, the scope and complexity of the work and the learning has been profound. For the first 18 months of my tenure – pre-COVID-19 – I had the great pleasure of visiting with you in your communities, spending time in your schools and literally breathing your air.

I gained so much perspective on what you have all achieved, your challenges and your aspirations, and that is what I will miss the most. Being able to sit with you and to understand what matters to you has been the most important experience of my time in this role. I feel well-prepared to take on my next role, in part because I will continue to experience new things every day as the Principal of Rossland Summit School, a K-9 school. Returning to the familiarity of my high school alma mater – with a new context, and a new community, staff and group of learners – will be nothing short of amazing. After 17 years of leading secondary and adult learning, one of my responsibilities will be to ’support the K-1 transition time’ where you will find me locating stray outdoor shoes, helping to zip snow pants and answering challenging questions like ‘Who are you?’. There is a freshness and a promise in supporting kids as they learn to read – as a prelude to reading to learn – and to making connections with students each day, something that I have truly missed.

What’s important in my transition to a new role is that I will carry with me so much of what I have learned in these two years. I will have the opportunity to share what I know about compassion, empathy and equity, and to continue to learn and grow alongside the school community. What’s important, as I move ahead from my role as President, is what you have shared with me, and the gift of your trust as we have traveled on this journey together. I can still remember the first time that I asked a room full of members to close their eyes, and to think about how they arrived that day. Coming to that awareness of how we ‘are’, and the impact of that awareness of how we walk, run, stride or saunter through the day, was pivotal for me. It has led me to refine my core beliefs about ‘wellness’ to become a focus on the strategies that we all need to practice for self-care. Our understanding of ‘systems’ matters: not ‘the system’ but rather the realization that we are each a part of so many systems, and how significantly we impact each other.
I hope that throughout our time together I have been able to express how important your well-being is to me, whether it is through advocating for improvements in your contractual relationships or addressing work intensification. I think we always leave a role wishing that we had more time, and that there was more that we could do.

If I could leave you with one thought as you head into your summer break, it would be to take some time. You have scaled a steep mountain since the events of March, and if you can claim a moment at the peak to pause and to reflect, then you will be better prepared for what is next. Come August, I will be there beside you and we’ll all step across the threshold to lead another year of learning. Maybe we’ll experience new things every day, and maybe some days will have a familiar rhythm.
I hope that you’ll hear my voice in your head reminding you what’s important, to practice some self-care, and to breathe. Remember that we’re here to support compassion, kindness, wellness and learning both for our students, and for ourselves.

Compassion
Health
Inclusion
Leadership
Diversity
Reflection
Empathy
Nuance

Take Care, and see you soon,
David