School District 91 (SD 91) announced recently that Wendy Kelemen, principal with Decker Lake/Francois Lake, has been appointed to the newly created position by the Ministry of Education.
“Wendy brings a wealth of early learning, primary and inclusive education experience to this new position,” said Mike Skinner, assistant superintendent with SD 91.
Kelemen, who has been with the district since 1999 in a variety of positions, including teaching at Fraser Lake Elem-Secondary, Mapes Elementary, Muriel Mould Primary, Lakes District Secondary as well as in the positions of VP and principal of William Konkin Elementary. Currently, she is the principal of Decker Lake and Francois Lake Elementary.
Her new role as District Principal of Early Learning and Child Care was created by the Ministry of Education as they now include the Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) mandate across B.C. This role will have Kelemen leading and supporting SD 91 in ELCC projects and initiatives and reviewing existing resources in the District and communities, among several other responsibilities.
“Wendy will be assuming her new role as District Principal of Early Learning and Child Care once a suitable candidate has been hired through our posting process for Decker Lake /Francois Lake vacancy. We are hopeful to have new school leadership in place in the next few weeks,” said Skinner, confirming that SD91 had several postings for various positions.
“There are challenges, however, with staffing shortages in the district. This includes teachers, bus drivers, Learning Support Workers, and other CUPE positions. We have hired 14 “Letter of Permission” teachers to fill classroom positions and still have several full-time District TOC positions left unfilled. We have four Letter of Permission teachers currently working in the Burns Lake area. We are actively recruiting across BC and Canada this year as in-person career fairs are again being scheduled,” he said.
Skinner pointed out however that the hiring challenges were not isolated to SD91 as most northern and rural districts have been struggling to attract and retain staff in the current job market.
“As of now, SD91 is excited to see the return of students this fall, and we have seen an increase in student attendance in the first few weeks of school compared to last spring. Fall school sports and activities are in full swing for the first time in a few years, and this is good news for staff, students, and families,” noted Skinner.