Tim Mushumanski likes to help students solve problems. That’s something he’s been doing for the last eight years as vice principal of L.V. Rogers, and it’s something he’ll be doing until at least July as the acting principal of Rosemont Elementary.
“It’s eye-opening. This is a whole different world,” Mushumanski told the Star, during his second day of work. “These youngers kids, there’s more energy. It’s noisier. It’s way more fun than I thought it would be and the kids have been super welcoming.”
And though he figures his workdays will change, there will still be “a huge overlap” in the type of work he’ll be doing.
“It’s still helping kids solve problems. Not solving the problems for them, but letting them do it themselves. I did a lot of that at secondary school, and I’ll do a lot of that here. I know that already.”
Grade 1 student Oz Meeker was hanging out with Mushumanski and sorting pennies into sleeves during the Star’s visit. Mushumanski said the pair have already worked together solving a variety of problems.
When asked his favourite thing about his new principal, Meeker was succinct: “I get to hold money.”
Mushumanski said former principal Kathy Spiers, who is now an acting vice principal at the district office, will be missed.
“I’ve known Kathy for a long time. I have a huge amount of respect for her. Her leadership and my leadership style are the same in that we’re both kid-centred, learning-centred. I don’t think people will see a very big difference. She did a great job and I want to continue that.”
Though Mushumanski has “lots of ideas” for what he hopes to accomplish at Rosemont, right now he’s still in listening mode.
“The first couple of months will be figuring out how the school ticks, where the teachers and students are at, what they need. I’m not coming in with my agenda. I’m going to find out where they’re at and what they need from me.”
One thing he would like to continue is Destination Imagination, a creativity and problem-solving program.
“I have a number of contacts on Vancouver Island that run province-wide and North America-wide competitions, so I want to look into that.”
He said the exercises the kids participate in develop crucial skillsets.
“Here’s an example: they’ll give you a box of miscellaneous items like straws, paper clips, tape. They’ll say build the tallest structure you can with four students and a time limit. Now go!”
The process will teach children social skills as well as problem-solving.
“There will be leaders who emerge, followers that emerge, cooperation. Sometimes there will be conflict and that has to be resolved. This is a really simple example of the type of work they’ll be doing.”
Mushumanski said he’s pleased about his new gig.
“I’m thrilled to be the principal of Rosemont. I was at L.V. Rogers as vice principal for eight years and it was tough to leave. But I couldn’t have landed in a better spot for me. I’m thrilled to be that leader for this school.”