Assistant Superintendent Jim Ansell is taking on a new challenge – one that will take him out of Campbell River.
After three years on the job, Ansell is stepping down to take a job as superintendent in Qualicum.
“I’ve really enjoyed my time here and I have mixed feelings,” Ansell says. “I’m excited for a new challenge but at the same time it’s hard to leave something you’re so attached to.”
Leaving Campbell River and all the staff at school district 72 was “one of the hardest decisions of my life” Ansell says but the opportunity to take the final step to superintendent presented itself in Qualicum, a place where Ansell lived previously.
Before coming to Campbell River four years ago, Ansell also lived in Port Alberni. When he first came to the school district, he took on the role of director of instruction for one year before being promoted to assistant superintendent, a role he relishes.
“It was a wonderful job, working with a wonderful team and school board, and a great community that genuinely enjoys seeing the success of its children,” Ansell says. “That’s hard to beat.”
Ansell says the best part of his job was having the opportunity to work with the community, whether it be the District Parent Advisory Council, early learning groups such as Success by 6 or the parents involved in the school grade reconfiguration process which Ansell spearheaded.
In the months leading up to the board of education’s decision, Ansell moderated a public forum to discuss reconfiguration and answered questions from concerned students and parents.
Declining enrolment, a province-wide problem, was one of the biggest challenges for Ansell.
“Dealing with ongoing declining enrolment means our resources become tighter and tighter and we have to find a way to do things differently,” he says.
Despite the struggles, Ansell says he considers his time in Campbell River “the high point of my career to date.”
Nevenka Fair, who has served as director of instructional programs for the past five years, takes over from Ansell as the new assistant superintendent. Fair also spent 16 years in various principal and vice-principal roles at both the elementary and high school levels.