The Quesnel school district is hoping to hire enough certified teachers for the 2018-19 school year. File photo

SD 28 hires new principals, recuits more teachers

Teacher shortage affecting Quesnel as local district tries to attract more certified employees

School District 28 has appointed one new principal and will see a number of administration shifts at local elementary schools for the 2018-19 school year.

Joelle Withey will become principal of Kersley Elementary School from Aug. 1, 2018, relocating from Prince George. Withey is currently vice principal at Spruceland Traditional Elementary School in School District 57.

She holds a Bachelor of Education and a Masters of Education in counselling.

“She’ll be a great addition to our district leadership team,” says Gloria Jackson, chair of the school board.

Withey replaces Beth Collingwood, who will take up the principal position at Lakeview Elementary. Collingwood previously worked as a principal and teacher at Wells-Barkerville Elementary.

Moving on from Lakeview is Stephen Hawkins-Bogle, who will become principal at Red Bluff Lhtako Elementary. Hawkins-Bogle has also served as principal of Carson Elementary and vice principal of the now-closed École Baker Elementary.

Red Bluff Lhtako will also see a new vice principal role added. Mike Tate will become half-time vice principal at the school, sharing his time with Voyageur Elementary, where he also serves as vice principal half-time. He previously also taught on a half-time basis at Voyageur. Tate previously worked as temporary vice principal at École Baker.

“We saw some need for a vice principal position at Red Bluff Lhtako Elementary, so we decided to try this [half-time position,]” explains Jackson.

“We are so fortunate to have such experienced principals and vice principals in our district.”

While there are ample administrative leaders in School District 28, the B.C. Teachers’ Federation this week released a press release saying a B.C. teacher shortage has caused concern in the industry.

Quesnel currently has nine full-time teaching jobs held by non-certified employees.

“It’s now [June] and there are still reports of non-certified teachers working in classrooms, students with special needs losing out on their programs or being sent home, and hundreds of classes with class compositions that don’t meet the learning needs of students. While there were some announcements in February to slightly increase teacher education spots, the lack of bold action and provincial co-ordination means the shortage will make the next school year challenging as well,” said BCTF president Glen Hansman.

SD 28 school board chair Jackson says the body has been on a recruitment drive, hoping to attract enough certified teachers to the city for the 2018-19 school year.

“Our HR department has been at recruiting fairs in Saskatchewan, Kamloops and throughout the region and province, and really trying hard to recruit,” she comments.

“It’s our hope that when we post positions this year that we will be able to fill them with certified teachers, but we now have a good list of non-certified teachers we could put in classrooms if we need to.”

Jackson says all non-certified teachers are required to hold a degree, go through an intensive interview process and take training given by the school district.

“We have already put out postings for positions in 2018-19. We will continue to post throughout the summer until all positions are filled for the start of the school year.”

Some of the proposals the BCTF has put forward to address the teacher shortage include housing and moving allowances; mentorship programs to support retention of new teachers; waiving fees for retired teachers hoping to re-certify; expanding access to the rural and remote living allowance; a student loan forgiveness program; a shortened salary grid to make teachers’ starting wages more competitive with other provinces; and financial assistance for teachers seeking additional qualifications.

Research from the BCTF shows the minimum salary for a B.C. teacher with a category 5 qualification ranks 12th out of 13 provinces and territories. B.C.’s maximum category 5 salary ranks 10th.

A category 5 teacher holds a bachelor’s degree and a Bachelor of Education.

Just Posted

Column: Big Brothers Big Sisters Quesnel’s in-school programs almost done for the year

Many great opportunities to mentor and volunteer in schools for the next school year

Nine-axle trucks gain access to roads near local mills

A number of concerns to be addressed before they’re allowed nearer the city of Quesnel

Strong response shown to Northern Cariboo fire

Almost 40 firefighters as well as bulldozers and air support combat blaze

Crossfire lose 15-5 to Prince George Devils

Quesnel are 2-3 in their last five games with all three losses coming on the road

Back Country Horsemen train first responders on emergency livestock response

The event aimed to help first responders better understand how to handle livestock in an emergency

B.C. BMX kid wows GoPro with homemade video

Eight-year-old Rex Johnson wins award for inventive video

Vancouver Canucks tab Quinn Hughes with No. 7 overall pick in NHL draft

University of Michigan standout was second defenceman picked in first round

New agreements reached on Tsilhqot’in title lands

The TNG and Province of B.C. announced Friday they have reached five new agreements that will provide clarity and certainty

Gun, drugs and cash seized in arrest of alleged B.C. fentanyl dealer

Vancouver Island man Brent Connors is facing nine charges in relation to investigation

Jogger spent two weeks in U.S. detention centre after accidentally crossing B.C. border

Cedella Roman, 19, crossed the border while out for a run

PHOTOS: Police rescue baby seal found on rocky B.C. shoreline

Marina Mammal Rescue Centre recommends residents observe from a distance

B.C. woman with severely disabled son keeps getting parking tickets

‘There has to be something they could do’

‘Creep off’ reporting system aims to track street harassment in Metro Vancouver

Text-based hotline launches to collect public reports on where and when harassment occurs

10 feet from home: B.C. grassfire offers stark reminder how quickly blazes burn

Kamloops woman among first people in B.C. to be told to evacuate home this wildfire season

Most Read