Four leaders in the Fraser-Cascade School District 78 are facing new responsibilities next month.
Kent Elementary principal Stan Watchorn has been given a new, important responsibility in School District 78.
The district recently announced that effective Feb. 1, Watchorn has been named Principal of Special Responsibility, specifically helping Indigenous students and their families who have struggled with emotional health relating to the return to in-person learning during the pandemic.
“We are pleased with the increased mental health supports from our District Counsellors and the cultural support from our District Principal of Indigenous Education and our Indigenous Support Workers,” Superintendent Balan Moorthy said in a statement emailed to Black Press. “However, we continue to need targeted interventions and supports for our students and families.”
There are 667 Indigenous students in the Fraser-Cascade School District.
Watchorn will help in creating an Indigenous Friendship Centre at the site of the former C.E. Barry Intermediate School in Hope, which closed in 2014. He will also work at the Indigenous Friendship buildings at Kent Elementary and Boston Bar Elementary Secondary School.
Stan has built a firm foundation of trust, dedication and respect with our Indigenous communities in the Fraser-Cascade School District,” Moorthy stated. “When this initiative was brought forward to the Board of Education they could not think of a better person than Stan to lead it.”
Watchorn also serves on the District of Kent council.
Effective Feb. 1, Gord Johnson will be temporarily assigned to Kent Elementary as acting principal. Johnson has been a teacher at Harrison Hot Springs Elementary and has worked as vice principal at Agassiz Elementary Secondary for the past three years.
Anita Swinford will be acting vice principal at AESS; she has been a teacher at AESS who has taken on several leadership initiatives.
Jessica McKerrow has been assigned as vice principal for half of her assignment; she will also continue her role as district vice principal of inclusive education and offer support to students at Coquihalla Elementary as well.