There will be a new sheriff roaming the halls of Mount Boucherie Senior Secondary this fall.
After serving two-and-a-half years as principal of the high school, John Simonson will join School District 23’s human resources department.
He said he’s looking forward to the new opportunity, but will also miss interactions with the students.
“Typically someone will come and say that you should consider administration because you’ve been doing a good job as a classroom teacher,” said Simonson.
“The very thing that you’ve enjoyed doing is the thing that you’re moving away from. The farther away that you go, from a teacher to a vice-principal to a principal, the less you’re having direct contact with students.”
To help fill the gap, Simonson has always gotten involved with coaching.
“I always coached so I had the opportunity to—at least with the team I was working with—get to know the kids.
“Will I miss that? Absolutely.”
Simonson’s Westside education career prior to Mount Boucherie took him from George Pringle Secondary School to Glenrosa Middle School to Constable Neil Bruce Middle School.
Simonson joined Mount Boucherie in January, 2010.
He said that it’s difficult to name a single favourite memory from his time at the Westside secondary school.
“Every year has got some highlights,” said Simonson.
“It certainly has been rewarding over the last few years having the opportunity to work with students at Mount Boucherie because at least half of the kids are kids that I was with at Constable Neil Bruce. So I’ve been with them from Grade 7 right through to Grade 12.”
Some might predict that being in charge of approximately 1,400 students on the verge of adulthood would be the most difficult challenge of Simonson’s career to date; however, he said that’s not necessarily the case.
“There are different challenges at different levels. Certainly you’re dealing with more graduation issues and making sure that kids are on track to meet grad requirements.
“But that’s also a good thing. It’s a big school so there are lots of opportunities for kids to find something that they’re passionate about.”
Taking over Simonson’s role will be Scott McLean, who is currently the principal of Okanagan Mission Secondary School.
Simonson has very little doubt that McLean is the perfect candidate for the position.
“I’m really glad that Scott is the fellow they’ve chosen to come in here. He lives in the community; his son, Greg, graduated from Mount Boucherie last year.
“He knows what’s going on here. He’ll bring over some strengths and things will be just fine.”