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

West Kelowna Warriors goaltender Roman Basran stood tall in a 4-3 shootout victory over the Vernon Vipers Friday, Oct. 23, 2020. (Lisa Mazurek Photography)
Vernon Vipers fall to West Kelowna Warriors in shootout

Kelowna Rockets goalie Roman Basran helped the warriors to a 4-3 SO win Friday night.

Thanks to efforts by a Kelowna shelter and Elections BC, anyone who wishes to can vote in the 2020 BC Provincial Election, even if they don’t have a fixed address. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Kelowna group ensures people experiencing homelessness can vote

Shelter supervisor says voting ‘a fundamental right’ even for those without a fixed address

City Park, Oct. 23. Image: Lynn Morran
Snow forces tunnel closure under W.R. Bennett Bridge

Branches from trees are breaking and falling across City Park

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 18 COVID-19 cases, highest daily count since July

The total of COVID-19 cases in the region is now at 662

Smithson Employment Law Corporation donated $10,000 to support Habitat for Humanity Okanagan's Lake Country build. (Habitat for Humanity Okanagan)
Habitat for Humanity Okanagan receives $10,000 donation

Smithson Employment Law Corporation donated to the charity

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Cole Collingwood casts his mock ballot at Vernon’s Mission Hill Elementary School ahead of the provincial election Oct. 24, 2020. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
PHOTOS: Okanagan students cast mock election ballots

At Mission Hill Elementary, the election is a chance to learn about the democratic process

BC Liberals Leader Andrew Wilkinson, BC Greens Sonia Furstenau, BC NDP John Horgan (The Canadian Press photos)
British Columbians vote in snap election called during COVID-19 pandemic

At dissolution, the NDP and Liberals were tied with 41 seats in the legislature, while the Greens held two seats

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(Big White Ski Resort photo)
Big White receives 21 cm of snow in 24 hours

Resort’s snow base 41 cm deep, one month until opening day

The deer were allegedly shot within Princeton town limits, late at night. Black Press File Photo.
Armed man, in full camouflage, allegedly shoots deer in downtown Princeton

‘The list of charges goes on and on,’ said RCMP Sgt. Rob Hughes

Andrew Allen performed for two intimate crowds of 50 at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre Oct. 17. (Camillia Courts Photography)
Live events continue on North Okanagan stage

First Andrew Allen plays two sold-out shows, next up have a laugh with comedian Mike Delamont

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Most Read