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SD 27 superintendent to work part-time for Ministry of Education

Chris van der Mark’s new role will see some of his responsibilities shift to other admin staff
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School District 27 superintendent Chris van der Mark. (Angie Mindus photo)

School District 27 has announced several administrative changes effective Sept. 1, including the role of superintendent Chris van der Mark.

Van der Mark has been seconded to the Ministry of Education on a part-time basis to support the continuous improvement plan and school districts, noted SD27 in a news release. His work will include one-on-one support for superintendents and district leaders across the province, input on the rural workforce strategy and specific information sessions focused on capacity building.

“Much of the existing workload in his current district role(s) resulted from the additional duties performed as secretary treasurer. These duties are now shifting to Ms. Hooker, secretary-treasurer,” noted the district in the announcement issued at the end of the day Friday, Sept. 1 “Other duties will continue to be assumed by Deputy Lenardon as needed when Mr. van der Mark is performing Ministry duties. Ms. Lenardon had already begun taking on additional responsibilities as part of ongoing succession planning.”

No further additional staffing is required at this time, added the district.

Board chair, Ciel Patenaude, noted it is a credit to the school district and extended team that SD 27 is being “recognized for the tremendous work that our schools and district departments have engaged in. The Board is proud of the progress our district has shown and proud to support this work.”

Van der Mark was brought onboard as superintendent of SD 27 in January of 2019 following years of challenges, including a vote of non-confidence against the board and management levied twice by the Cariboo Chilcotin Teachers Association.

In 2018 the Board and management received guidance from a ministry-appointed special advisor prior to van der Mark leading the team.

Since then, the group has forged forward and has made succession planning one of its priorities.

Other administrative announcement made Sept. 1 includes that of the ‘human resource generalist’ position awarded to Kari-Ellen Bennison. “Ms. Bennison joins us from Sobeys where she has spent the past 15 years working as a pharmacy technician. Ms. Bennison brings with her a new perspective, strong communication skills, a keen attention to detail and an enthusiasm for learning. We look forward to working with Ms. Bennison in this new role.”

Heather Lamorie has been appointed to take on the position of principal of Naghtaneqed Elementary/Junior Secondary School in the Nemiah Valley. “Ms. Lamorie has previous principal experience from her time at Michigan First Nation School and from ILLP (International & Indigenous Language Program Continuing Education). Ms. Lamorie has over 20 years teaching experience in a wide range of ages and subjects. She has a strong commitment to learning and building relationships with students and community.”

After nearly three years in SD27, Patrick McCarron will be leaving the district with high praise to join SD51 (Boundary) in a similar capacity. “Mr. McCarron has been an invaluable part of the senior leadership team during his time in SD27. His vision and commitment to teamwork are only surpassed by his work ethic, honesty, and integrity. He has transformed how facilities and transportation function as part of the district, rather than silos.”

Beyond the regular duties, McCarron has been a key lead on projects such as the daycare and the submissions to work towards a major capital project, Marie Sharpe, noted the district.

Van der Mark said McCarron is “at the very top of quality people” he’s met through his career. “We wish Patrick and his family the very best as they set out on their next chapter.”

The search for Mr. McCarron’s replacement has begun, noted the district.

The 2023/2024 school season begins for teachers Sept. 5, and for students Sept. 6.



Angie Mindus

About the Author: Angie Mindus

A desire to travel led me to a full-time photographer position at the Williams Lake Tribune in B.C.’s interior.
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