A string of presentations were given at the regular meeting of the Board of Education School District No. 58 (Nicola-Similkameen) in the Princeton Board Room on April 16, 2014.
To begin, district trustees viewed a thank you slide presentation from the students of Princeton Secondary School thanking them for the funding that provided items including; new furniture for the library, replacement of out-dated equipment and funding for the fine arts program.
Teacher, Kirk McConnell received approval (subject to policy compliances) from the board to organize a student trip to Europe during Spring Break 2015. McConnell commented on the fact that he and his wife had two previous experiences with student trips and they, “Were well worth it,” he said.
Assistant superintendent Stephen McNiven presented the board with the Strategic Planning Update (Community Voice on Education) stating, “We have struck a productive advisory committee, collected information online, with surveys and face to face. We are prioritizing under the headers of learning, community wellness and organizational excellence.”
Jason McAllister introduced the board to My Education B.C.—a student information system that will exceed the uses of the current system used. My Education B.C. will include far better student data collection, web space for schools/teachers and students and will include student and parent portals with parents and teachers able to email one another. The system should be fully in use by September 2015.
Dierra Maynard, local Literacy Coordinator gave the board an update on the Literacy Program. Maynard shared highlights on Celebrity Reading Day and Bedtime and Books, both very successful events held at John Allison Elementary School.
She let the board know of the Literacy partnerships within the community, such as volunteer reading, one to one tutoring in the schools and at the Library – basic computer training.
Maynard was pleased to announce as well that the second Annual Literacy Race would take place on Thursday May, 8.
Last year 50 volunteers assisted with the race, including providing students of Vermilion Forks with literary challenges. Organizations including Rotary, the Arts Council, Vermilion Forks Pac and the high school assisted as well as gave generously. “Local agencies went above and beyond with support,” said Maynard.
Under staffing reports, Dr. Robert Peacock got up from his chair, walked to his wife Debbie’s side and made the following announcement, “I love my work” he said, “after 39 years, I am announcing my retirement effective July 31, 2014.”
Dr. Peacock said that it was with a sad heart he was preparing to say good-bye, but that he was happy—and adding with a chuckle, “I can say I did it all with a pony-tail.”
Board chair, Gordon Comeau spoke with high regard for Dr. Peacock, stating that the board was honoured to have worked with him. “Your judgement, wisdom and accessibility have helped guide this board well. “We hired him twice, said Comeau, “we realized we were gold.”
Dr. Peacock served the district for two terms as superintendent, beginning in 1998 to 2005 and again from 2009 to the present.
He has been a strong advocate for Aboriginal Education and his commitment to tam work with the board, community, and the Aboriginal communities was instrumental in the completion of the Aboriginal House of Honour at Merritt Secondary School and the signing of the current Local Education Agreements.
Stephen McNiven, currently the assistant superintendent has been appointed as Superintendent of Schools effective August 1, 2014.
Comeau congratulated McNiven stating, “The board has every degree of confidence you will fill this position.”
McNiven is a graduate of this district who began his teaching career in Richmond. He returned, teaching at Nicola-Canford Elementary, and has served as principal of John Allison Elementary, Nicola-Canford Elementary and Coquihalla Middle Schools. The board feels that McNiven has worked hard to build relationships with students, staff and community agencies.
“I thank the trustees for all their confidence,” said McNiven. He then turned to Dr. Peacock and said, “Bob, you are a fantastic mentor and I thank you for that.”