Kelowna Secondary School principal Troy White was the recipient of a school leadership award presented last year for the Premier's Awards for Excellence in Education. (File photo)

Students, an inspiration for Central Okanagan school principals

Central Okanagan school board declares Principal and Vice-Principal Month for October

When Derek Lea looks for inspiration, he refers to a woodchip and a rock that sits on his dresser.

Both are symbols, given to him by students, of the role he plays as an educator to help young people mature into adults and find their way in the world.

“We are shaping the minds of kids today who will shape our world in the future,” Lea said.

Lea was one of four principals talking via zoom at the Central Okanagan Board of Education meeting on Oct. 15 in recognition of October being declared by local trustees as Principal and Vice-Principal Month in the Central Okanagan School District.

Lea, current principal of Okanagan-Mission Secondary who has held similar positions at Spring Valley Middle and A.S. Matheson Elementary, told two stories about where those sources of inspiration came from.

The first involved the woodchip and a young Matheson student who had been sitting by himself on the playground, sifting through the ground surface woodchips.

Lea approached the six-year-old boy and asked him what he was doing. The youth replied he was looking for the largest woodchip.

After spending a few minutes with him, Lea moved on with his school ground supervisory duties, leaving the youngster to carry on his quest.

Later that day, the boy showed up at the school office and presented Lea with the largest woodchip he could find, telling the principal he wanted him to have it.

The second story involved a student service project Lea was part of in Nicaragua, where Grade 12 students were building a rock wall for a school.

“One of the students came up to me after and gave me a piece of the rock we used, as a good reminder of how hard we all had worked and how the trip was our small way to make a positive difference in the world,” Lea recanted.

Scott Sieben, principal of Mount Boucherie Secondary, also spoke to the trustees, saying local principals face challenging jobs but feel positive about the “exceptional support” they receive from within the school district.

“We all feel and realize we are part of a team that helps set the groundwork for us to do the work we feel is valuable for our students,” Sieben said.

Michelle Relova, principal of Ellison Elementary, added schools play a leading role in the growth of students and the community they live in.

“I feel we help them to develop a sense of belonging which is very important today,” she said.

Ashley Ragoonaden, principal of Ecole KLO Middle School, said humour also plays an an important role in providing some levity to the learning experience of students.

National Principals’ Month is recognized across Canada in October to recognize and raise awareness about the vital role of principals in public schools and their communities.

READ MORE: Central Okanagan teachers push to cancel FSA testing

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

Curtis Sagmoen
Public warning issued to North Okanagan sex trade workers

RCMP warns workers to stay away from Salmon River Road area

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP are looking for 27-year old Roy Albert Andrew after he failed to appear in court Oct. 15, 2020. He is considered violent. (RCMP)
Vernon police looking for wanted man

Roy Albert Andrew is considered to be violent, police say

The Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP located a hidden compartment in a vehicle, leading to a significant drug seizure, police said in a media release Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020. (RCMP photo)
Vernon Mounties find illicit drugs in hidden vehicle compartment

Police seized 4 kg of methamphetamine from a Jeep involved in a violent hit and run March 24

File photo
EDITORIAL: The power of a single vote

In the Oct. 24 British Columbia election, every vote is important

RCMP stock photo (Black Press)
Kelowna RCMP investigating unexplained death of cattle

Cattle found dead near gravel road, east of the Kelowna Airport

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry presents modelling of COVID-19 spread in B.C., March 25, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. sets another COVID-19 record with 203 new cases

up to 1,766 active cases in B.C., two more deaths

(Kelowna Capital News)
B.C. Labour Board orders Peachland cannabis company to reinstate laid-off employees

The B.C. Labour Relations Board determined the employees were laid off due to their plan to unionize

RCMP. (Phil McLachlan - Black Press Media)
British Columbia man dies during ski trip near glacier west of Calgary

Kananaskis Public Safety and Alpine Helicopters responded around 2:30 p.m.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020, following a week-long break for the House of Commons. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
One crisis after another for Trudeau since last federal election one year ago

It has been a year of unprecedented calamity and crisis

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Two pigs roam the Salmon Arm Walmart parking lot during a prior visit photographed by Danielle Burgi. (Danielle Burgi photo)
Pigs trot over for a visit at Salmon Arm shopping centre

Employees say this was the second drop-in from the temporarily free-range porkers

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Penticton law courts. (Black Press file)
Osoyoos man in court for alleged shooting

The Oct. 11 shooting left a man with non-life threatening injuries

Most Read