THE PRESIDENT’S PERSPECTIVE - Brian Leonard
October 28, 2022 Message to Members
Q. What happens when you bring 350+ school leaders together in one room?
A. Excitement, collaboration and inspiration – in short, leadership magic!
It’s a wrap, but what a time was had by all.
From October 20 – 22, school leaders from every part of the province – and an additional 50+ online and in Hub locations – gathered at the Victoria Conference Centre for Connecting Leaders 2022.
The Conference theme – Reconnect, Rejuvenate, Rejoice – was apt for this gathering. Co-Chairs Renee Hislop (SD62-Sooke) and Vicki Roberts (SD61-Victoria), with their committee of Maghen Gerard (SD70-Pacific Rim), Lisa Scheck (SD71-Comox Valley), and Sara Salemink (SD63-Saanich), put together an exceptional experience. Island hospitality was fully demonstrated and in over-drive throughout the weekend.
As you can imagine, an event this big was an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ affair. A small but mighty contingent from BCPVPA – Sharon North, Executive Assistant, Sandra Murphy, Director of Communications, Magdalena Kassis and Ellen Roberts, Directors of Member Support Services, and Acting Executive Director, Kit Krieger – all joined in to connect with attendees, and to generally support the PLD Team of Andrea McComb, Peter Johnston, Sue Boucher, and Nick Faulkner. While we all got to participate, enjoy, and rejoice in the spirit of the event, they worked feverishly behind the scenes to make sure it all went off without a hitch. And, boy, did they do a good job. On behalf of our members, many thanks to our staff who were onsite, and to everyone in the office who worked to support the event.
In-person and online participants were treated to the opportunity for an extended and deep exploration of “The Power of Story” with Doug Keeley, followed by compelling learning sessions with educator, administrator, and SFU faculty member, Carolyn Roberts, and educator and University of Winnipeg Faculty of Education scholar, Kevin Lamoureux.
Throughout the conference, we were entertained and inspired by the Musician in Residence, Jesse Ruben, founder of the We Can Project. At times, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house, either from the laughter or the pathos.
Thanks to our collaboration with Director of Indigenous Education (SD61-Victoria), Dr. Shelly Niemi, we were both honoured by and blessed with the presence and participation of Songhees Nation elders, Frank and Linda George. Frank and Linda were active participants each day as our Conference Elders.
By the time the Conference closed on Saturday, we better understood and appreciated the power of story in our leadership journeys as introduced by Doug, were urged to listen to the stories of the land as guided by Carolyn, had been inspired to create by Jesse, and were asked and challenged about how to commit to reconciliation for a better Canada by Kevin.
To further fill the inspirational buckets, the Conference closed with a blessing from the Conference Elders, and concluded with a deeply moving drumming performance from the Drumming Program of Grade 4/5 students from George Jay Elementary in Victoria. The performance helped reinforce the importance of our work in supporting the students and communities we serve, and, in turn, how we as leaders are helping to shape the future of Canadian society – one student at a time.
Have a great weekend, and a safe and Happy Hallowe’en!