Getting to Know Grand Erie is a new weekly feature that puts the spotlight on one of the many Grand Erie staff members working towards the goal of Success for Every Student. The Q&A series brings the staff member into focus by sharing – in their own words – the lessons they’ve learned in leadership, teamwork, and perseverance. Do you know someone who should be featured? Let us know!
Principal, Banbury Heights School
What’s the best part of your job?
The best part of the job is definitely having an opportunity to help kids to grow and be successful by helping influence positively their experiences at school.
What was your first job, and what did it teach you?
My very first job didn’t really have a job title… During high school, I worked evenings at a dry cleaners that did industrial laundry. We used machines to turn Wrangler jeans inside out to prepare them for pre-washing, and ran loads of washed jeans through industrial dryers. I learned two things: one, the rivets on jeans become incredibly hot in industrial dryers. And two, I learned the value of money earned. I was getting paid $2.04 per hour, and quickly realized that the $0.50 cent can of pop from the vending machine took me 15 minutes to earn, but only 30 seconds to drink. The pop certainly wasn’t worth the sweat I put in to earn it.
What motivates you?
The health and happiness of my family, my friends, my students and my staff.
What’s your favourite thing about working in Grand Erie?
I love the fact that the size of Grand Erie permits me to get to know all of my colleagues on a personal level. That I know all of Grand Erie’s senior staff, and most administrators (I haven’t had a chance to meet the newer administrators due to COVID-19 limitations), on a first name basis is rare in most school boards. These personal connections make me feel like “part of the team,” rather than “part of the machine.”
How does your role contribute to Success for Every Student?
The description of my job, when it’s distilled down to a single, short sentence, is to create and maintain the conditions required for all students to be successful. Everything that I do in my job, whether it’s about academics, staffing, staff concerns, safety, the physical school structure, the playground, or administrative duties as well as every decision that I make is grounded in my goal of fulfilling the promise of “Success for Every Student.”
What’s a skill or talent you possess that might surprise people?
I used to do a lot of whitewater kayaking and canoe-tripping, and I can juggle… but not both of those things at the same time!
Best advice you received?
From my father, “When you are on your death bed and look back, if you were unhappy, then it’s your own fault. No one else is responsible for your happiness. If you don’t like your life, then change it.”
Best advice you were given?
Do it because it’s the right thing to do, even when no one is watching.
What’s been your most important lesson learned during the pandemic?
Every challenge presents an opportunity to grow. Perspective is everything.
What do you like to do outside of work?
I like to play the guitar to relax, spend time with close family and friends, and I like to try cooking new meals with my smoker!