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New SD70 superintendent a familiar face

Hiring a known commodity for new superintendent gives School District 70 stability and continuity, chairperson Larry Ransom said.

Trustees announced they were appointing assistant superintendent Greg Smyth as the new superintendent of School District 70 beginning Aug. 1.

“Greg will be the man as we go forward after Aug. 1,” Ransom said. “He was just the right person for the job.”

Trustees made their decision to hire Smyth at an in-camera meeting preceding the public board meeting on Tuesday, Ransom said.

An external search wasn’t undertaken.

“Greg’s experience in the district and knowledge of the district were assets,” Ransom said. “He’s well known in the district and he lives in the district too.”

Being a known commodity establishes stability and continuity in the district, something the district needs, Ransom said.

Smyth takes the helm from outgoing superintendent Cam Pinkerton who has taken a position as an assistant superintendent with the school district in Victoria.

“I understand that there was no search so I appreciate the board’s confidence,” Smyth said.

“I look forward to working with trustees, our staff and with the community as we try to resolve them.”

The challenges are well known and they are many, he said.

There is the budget in which trustees will have to find $800,000 in savings next year.

Enrolment has declined district wide and caused a congruent decline in per student funding from the province.

And the spectre of school re-configuration and closures are still on the horizon.

Previous public consultations pitted parents from schools against one another and created fault lines between staff and trustees.

“Those challenges are well known,” Smyth said. “I look forward to the challenge because I believe there are opportunities in those,” he said.

“But the other piece of this is continuing to work on the school completion rate in the district as well as student achievement in general.”

The married father of two grew up in Victoria and earned both a BA and MA from UVic.

Smyth arrived in School District 70 in 1996 and worked as principal at Alberni District Secondary School on Burde Street for nine years.

He moved to the board office in 2004 and worked first as the supervisor of instruction and then as the assistant superintendent.

Smyth has also been a volunteer coach for minor hockey and track and field.

reporter@albernivalleynews.com

Twitter.com/AlberniNews

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