Exceptional Work During a Daunting Year

Posted On Thursday June 24, 2021

By Rhonda Kershaw, Board Chair

June 23, 2021

In the Kamloops-Thompson School District, the first of 14 graduation ceremonies began in May at South Kamloops Secondary. Graduation took place over five 13-hour days, allowing each student to cross the stage and receive their diploma in front of a small number of guests. These personal, memorable events have played out many times across the district and will end with Valleyview Secondary in early July.

Graduation is a major milestone in each students’ life, and in the lives of their families. Graduates are stepping into an uncertain world but they are equipped with tools and knowledge to ensure success. The Board of Education congratulates the Class of 2021 and wishes them all the best in their future endeavours!

While recent announcements from the Ministry of Education indicate that we will see a mostly normal return to school this coming September, no changes will happen prior to the end this school year.  For the second year our school staff are working to ensure graduations provide a meaningful way for students, staff and families to celebrate this important milestone and to reflect on their experiences throughout their school years.

These customized graduations are an example of the innovation that has occurred across the district during this challenging year. While difficult to list all the amazing things were created and implemented in 2020-2021, we acknowledge the way SD73 staff across the District have leaned-in to find different strategies to stay connected and keep our learners at the center of what we do.

This coming July the Board will also be celebrating the retirement of Secretary Treasurer Stretch. His retirement marks the end of a 24-year career with the district, the last 15 as Secretary-Treasurer.  Overseeing an annual budget of close to $200M, his guidance has allowed this and many previous boards to feel confident in the financial position of the District, ensuring the focus can remain on the educational needs of students.  Kelvin will be greatly missed but we wish him great joy in the next chapter of his life!

The Board of Education would also like to recognize the leadership of Dr. Terry Sullivan this past year.  While he retired from SD73 in 2014, he played a critical role this past year as interim Superintendent of Schools. We thank him for his steady and thoughtful leadership over the past 10 months.  The successful completion of this year, one of the most challenging experienced in the District, is in large part attributable to his calm and competent support to staff at all levels.

While the next year will look different, SD73 is well-positioned for the upcoming changes with the arrival of incoming superintendent Dr. Rhonda Nixon in early July, and with Trina Cassidy ready to assume the role of Secretary-Treasurer in August.

Together with the Board, I would like to once again congratulate the Class of 2021 and our retiring Secretary-Treasurer Stretch. I also extend my appreciation to each SD73 staff member for their exceptional work in bringing us through an extraordinarily demanding year.

We look forward to September knowing that students, families, teachers and staff should plan for a near-normal return to school.

This column appeared in Kamloops This Week: View from SD73 on June 23, 2021

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