KAMLOOPS - The school district’s next superintendent will be the first women to hold the position.
Last week School District 73 announced Assistant Supt. Alison Sidow will be taking over from Supt. Karl deBruijn in August. As far as she and deBruijn know, she’ll be the first woman in the district's top executive position.
“It always feels good to be a role model for women seeking positions of leadership,” she says.
She says about a third of superintendents in the province are women, a number which has risen steadily since the 1980s. Sidow is also a fan of technology and social media, using Twitter regularly. She sees social media platforms and hands-on technology as parts of the district's future.
“I do believe social media is one of our primary forms of communication,” she says. “In the 21st century you need to be on multiple platforms to reach your audience.”
She sees the district using new methods of communication to help parents stay engaged with their children’s education.
“Parents are busy people and they want more instant communication than they have in the past. We’re looking to provide weekly communications and much more frequent communications around student progress,” she says. “We need our parents to be equal parents in supporting their child’s progress.”
She says some progress has already been made, and she is looking to enhance what’s already in use. The district created a technology plan last year, and she says implementation will be important.
She also wants students to use new technology to learn in new ways, instead of learning old ways with new technology.
“The world has changed and so must we,” she says. “We need to view ourselves as learners and risk takers.”
Sidow says the district is already invested in technology, too.
“I think you’d be surprised how much Kamloops is in the fore,” she says. “We’re a forerunner in may regards, especially when it comes to trades and technology.”
She’s taking over from deBruijn, who is retiring after being with the district for 40 years. Two other long-time employees will also be retiring from the district this summer, deBruijn says. Director of curriculum Art Blackwell is leaving after 40 years with the district, and Assistant Supt. John Churchley after 30 years.
“Churchley was the first principal of the arts school, and brought it to fruition, really,” he says.
Blackwell held a lot of different positions in the district, deBruijn says, and ends his career overseeing support staff and services. He says the loss of corporate memory is difficult to replace, but is confident new employees will be great. With the superintendent position filled, deBruijn says the district will be putting out postings for the soon-vacant jobs in the near future, though the district will also be reviewing it’s staffing structure.
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