Members of the public react to the school board’s announcement of a ‘one-year transition’ for SD82 administrators. (Quinn Bender photo)

Terrace school principal reassignments on hold

School board announces “one-year transition” to cheering crowd

The three Coast Mountains School District administrators leaving their positions can stay where they are—for now.

School Board Chair Shar McCrory made the announcement Wednesday night at a regularly scheduled board meeting, again packed with parents, teachers, and students and overflowing into the hallways.

Skeena Middle School Principal Phillip Barron and Vice Principal Cory Killoran, along with Suwilaawks Community School Principal Pam Kawinsky will remain in their positions for what McCrory described as a one-year transition.

“We have heard you,” McCrory said to the cheering crowd. “We will work with [independent consultant] Dianne Turner and we will work with you all to move forward and look at how we can be the best district we can be for the students within it.”

McCrory had to pause three times as the crowd applauded, whistled and cheered the names of each administrator, whom she said have given their consent to the arrangement. People in the crowd visibly wept and “thank yous” were shouted from across the room to the seated school board trustees.

School Superintendent Katherine McIntosh did not attend the meeting, citing family issues.

On April 25, Coast Mountains School District 82 announced the administrators would be moved to other schools this fall. The two principals opted for demotions to teaching positions rather than leave their home community, triggering protests and outpourings of support. Confused and angry students, teachers and parents have since demanded transparency in the school district’s reasoning.

On Wednesday night the school board did not satisfy thier demand, but as McCrory reiterated a second time the board intends to work better with parents on this and other issues moving forward, the crowd gave her a standing applause.

READ MORE: Kermode Friendship Society, parents taking school principal demotions to province

It’s not clear yet what the “one-year transition” entails, nor whether the reassignments are open for discussion or are simply postponed.

McCrory said details will be released Thursday afternoon.

Terrace grandmother Carol Schmidt was relieved the board made a final decision on the matter, but like many she is still unsure what’s in store one year down the line.

“I don’t know if that means transition to what they already had planned…but I hope it has to do with the conclusion of the consultant. But tonight the whole community is very pleased with the board — they made a good decision. They’re at least listening and responding.”

READ MORE: Under pressure: SD82 takes more heat over principal reassignments

During the last regular board meeting, after hours of questions and testimony from community members, McIntosh and board trustees refused to consider postponing the decision until a recently hired independent consultant, Dianne Turner, completes her review of the district’s processes this fall.

The reversal of that stance surprised Angie Scodane, who despite the distance from her home on Braun’s Island saw an importance for her kids to attend Suwilaawks under the administration of Kawinsky and her empathy with young Indigenous learners.

“We’re super stoked. I had all three of my kids go there and now we have this little one in kindergarten,” Scodane said, holding her grandson. “He just loves Pam. We’re very exited. She helped all of my kids and now she’s helping him.”

– with files from Brittany Gervais


 


quinn@terracestandard.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

“We have to make a call out to address this now so our people don’t have to feel fearful,” said Tribal Chief Mina Holmes. (Carrier Sekani Tribal Council Facebook photo)
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council seeks Indigenous-led task force in northern B.C. hospitals

Request made in an open letter to federal minister Carolyn Bennett

Ellis Ross (left), BC Liberal party, celebrated with his wife, Tracey after being named the preliminary winner of the 2020 snap provincial election.
Ross presumptive Skeena winner in snap B.C. election

Election outcome will not be official until mail-in ballots are counted

Voting has officially closed throughout B.C. for the 2020 snap provincial election. (Clare Rayment)
Map of Skeena polling stations

Watch the updates on the map below as polling stations are counted throughout Skeena riding

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

A woman walks through check in at WestJet at Pearson International airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Strong support for pre-flight COVID testing ahead of upcoming WestJet trial: YVR

Airport is partnering with UBC, which is helping choose the method of pre-flight testing

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau says pandemic ‘really sucks,’ and that Christmas gatherings are up in the air

The prime minister encouraged residents to continue to follow the advice of local health authorities

The Williams Lake Indian Band is stipulating no-go zones for mushroom picking in areas burned by last summer’s wildfires. 100 Mile Free Press photo
Who controls mushroom harvesting on Indigenous lands?

‘We don’t necessarily know where the mushrooms grow, how old the stands need to be, those types of things.’

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Canadian and American flags fly near the Ambassador Bridge at the Canada/USA border crossing in Windsor, Ont. on Saturday, March 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Rob Gurdebeke
U.S. election results one factor that could impact immigration to Canada next year

The survey polled 1,523 Canadians between Oct. 23 and Oct. 25

The voting station mimicked a real voting station in Nicole Choi’s classroom at Chilliwack middle school on Oct. 22, 2020, where students had to show their ID (student cards), be checked off a list, and mark a secret ballot behind a screen. (Jessica Peters/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. students choose NDP majority in mock election

More than 90,000 youth took part in school-based election process

Most Read