When I first began teaching some 20 years ago, my wife, Cathy and I had an opportunity to come to the North and were both offered jobs. At the end of the day, we decided not to go and we ended up staying in Atlantic Canada where we both taught. Over the years, we thought about that a lot and regretted that we hadn’t gone, wondering what we might have missed out on. Then about two years ago, something rare in life happened – we were given a second chance. And this time we took it. Now we’re into our second year here in Fort McPherson and we want to be here for at least a third.
For me personally, one of the most rewarding things about being principal here at Chief Julius School is having been involved in securing a major grant for an alternative education program. The grant is helping kids who, for a variety of reasons, don’t necessarily fit into a traditional school environment. They’re now being helped and we see the results of it every day.
Fort McPherson is a small, very tight-knit community. At first we were “visitors” but something interesting happened when people knew we were staying. We were no longer visitors but became more a part of the community. People were always friendly but when they knew we were staying, it was different. They know we’re committed to the children and the community. As principal of the only school in town, I recognize that I’m in a key leadership position, one that brings with it a level of respect, but also responsibility. Community members look to me to be an example for their children. Some people in the community will call me for advice and input and not just about things to do with the school.
We’re making our mark in the Northwest Territories, right here in Fort McPherson.