September 27, 2019 Message to Members

Island Connections

On Monday, I got off the plane at Victoria International Airport and it was raining as hard as I have ever seen. Through the drops cascading on the tarmac, I believe I saw hundreds of animals marching 2 x 2 toward a very large wooden boat. But I was happy to have landed on the Island!

I traveled straight to Claremont Secondary and met with the team who were coordinating a district-wide professional development day with an Indigenous focus. It was great to see Brad Baker, former BCPVPA Director and District Principal in the SD44 North Vancouver, starting the day off with his powerful keynote presentation.

I was then greeted by a new face from a familiar place, Steve Newlove from my hometown of Trail. Steve graduated from JL Crowe and his stepdad taught there. Steve is the Vice-Principal at North Saanich Middle School and works with Principal Kal Russell, the SD63 Chapter president. After a quick stand-up lunch, Kal and I traveled to the SD63 school board office to meet Superintendent David Eberwein. We talked about the growing population in Saanich and the surrounding areas, and the impact on school enrolments; I enjoyed hearing Dave’s perspective on the strategic planning process as the district begins to engage in a new plan. From there, Kal and I met with his Saanich colleagues where I presented some provincial perspectives, outlined supports that are in place for Chapter governance structures and highlighted the new School Plan module in BetterEducate. It was nice to connect with the Saanich Principals and Vice-Principals, and to hear the local outlook.

I started my next day with Superintendent Scott Stinson in SD62 Sooke. It’s a district that is growing quickly, and although this growth has many positives it also presents some unique challenges. Scott and I chatted about the district’s current strategic plan, and how their leadership team is balancing growth with academic and engagement goals. School community well-being is a focus for Scott, and he shared a number of SD62’s strategies to support wellness. He also talked about the high level of engagement of the district’s Principals and Vice-Principals in the BetterEducate growth planning tools, and looks forward to hearing more about the School Plan module. I could see how busy Scott is, and I appreciated that he found time in his schedule to share his education perspectives.

My next stop was Victoria and I was joined by my good friend and Director, Brett Johnson. Brett picked me up on route to CFB Esquimalt where we met Principals and Vice-Principals from both the Sooke and Victoria Chapters. The setting was stunning and with such an incredible view at hand, I wondered how I could stay focussed on my presentation! It was great to reconnect with colleagues that I met at Short Course (shout out to the team from Sooke!) and with Renee Hislop who was recently in my Nuance Book Club group! I really enjoyed engaging with Directors Tom Aerts, Read Jorgensen and Brett Johnson on their ‘home turf’. It’s great to hear about the many positives that are reflected in our roles and responsibilities.

In the context of presenting a provincial perspective, my conversations continue to revolve around our connectedness, a more purposeful personal awareness to help establish that baseline for balance and boundaries, and strategies that support and sustain leadership capacity development. I continue to be energized by our colleagues and my energy levels truly get a boost each time I visit and breathe your air. Hearing from you directly about new and effective strategies helps me to share with others. Our networking mindsets are supporting each other as we shift from ‘survival learning’ to ‘generative learning’, and processes that lead to creating new practice.

Take Care,