He thinks it’s just the right time.
School District 8 Superintendent Jeff Jones knows there are two collective agreements coming up for renegotiation in 2019, and he wants to make sure his predecessor is well-positioned to build relationships ahead of time.
So he’s embarking on a planned retirement, handing over the district’s reins.
“When I was first hired, the district was embroiled in contract negotiations and I had little time to establish relationships before we were engaged in job action,” Jones told the Star.
“I recognize this is a good time to bring in a new set of eyes, to have a look at things from a different perspective.
Stakeholders will be meeting in the near future, and Jones anticipates the position will be posted by the end of January.
Jones spent most of his career in Alberta, mainly in Calgary and Red Deer, working as a teacher before getting on with the Calgary Board of Education for 23 years.
He moved to Nelson in 2010.
“I’ve been very proud of the work we were able to do to prepare our district for what I call the era of disruption. We’re experiencing it and we’ll continue to experience it, but I think our district is well prepared to deal with the pace of what is coming.”
He said he hopes “our teachers and staff felt the freedom to examine their practice and challenge traditional parameters and paradigms, and have been asking themselves questions about the changing needs of our students.”
In the past year a major part of Jones’ role was assisting in the multi-year facilities planning process, which concluded this summer with the board voting to close four schools.
His primary passion has been for transformational education, which he funnelled additional funds into.
School District 8 is in good shape, he figures.
“We need to challenge the urge to go back to the basics. We need to be thinking about going forward towards the basics, because the basics have changed.”