As classes begin across the district today, students may find themselves looking up at a slightly changed administration at some schools after a principal/vice-principal shuffle took place over the summer.
High on the list of changes is the addition of a third vice-principal at the Fort Frances High School.
“We requested Brent [Tookenay] be part of the school system,” said Warren Hoshizaki, director of education for the Rainy River District School District.
He explained that the school board recognized a need for the position though its First Nations Advisory Committee.
“We saw the importance of recognizing the cultural component [of First Nations education],” he said, adding that Tookenay had the qualifications and the board requested they be allowed to employ him at the sigh school.
“They agreed,” he said of Seven Generations Education Institute, who employed Tookenay at the time.
Hoshizaki explained that the partnership struck between the RRDSB and Seven Generations allows for joint funding of the position.
“He’ll have the same duties [as the other vice-principals] in regard to discipline and curriculum,” said Ian Simpson, Principal at Fort High. “Part of his duties will be to improve the achievement of our aboriginal students.”
Hoshizaki explained the partnership allows for Tookenay to spend part of his time training and advising Seven Generations staff, like language assistance councillors.
“I haven’t heard of any other program, cooperative venture, like this in the province,” Hoshizaki said.
“It can only be a good thing,” he commented on the arrangement and the First Nations presence at the school. “I think it’s just wonderful. I hope it will have an impact with the graduation of First Nations students. Our interest is with the education of the students.”
“It’s a very positive step,” agreed Simpson. “He’s got experience, contacts and knowledge that will greatly assist us in our programs for aboriginal students.”
Simpson explained that Tookenay’s role with the school will fit well with the school’s new improvement goal to increase aboriginal student achievement.
“He will take over the activities related to that goal,” he said, “and revising that goal.”
Other notable moves in the head offices of RRDSB schools this fall include the appointment of three new principals and five new vice-principals, including Tookenay.
Donna Kowalchuk makes the move from principal at Huffman school to be principal at J.W. Walker/Alexander MacKenzie/Alberton schools replacing Penny Newman who becomes the new principal at Robert Moore School.
Dianne Thompson, who was vice-principal at Robert Moore School last year, replaces Kowalchuk as principal at Huffman School and is replaced by Heather Campbell as vice-principal at Robert Moore. Campbell was a literacy co-ordinator for the RRDSB and will retain that role.
Former vice-principal of the Sturgeon Creek Alternative Program, Kendall Olsen, will become a vice-principal at Rainy River High School. Kerri Tolen moves from being a teacher at Donald Young/Nestor Falls Schools to being vice-principal there, and former special education co-ordinator Leslie Barr-Kellar moves into a vice-principal role at Crossroads School in Devlin.