School is back in session and students are filling classrooms for the 2019-20 school year.
Elk Island Public Schools is welcoming three new principals in Sherwood Park, taking over two junior highs in Sherwood Park and one high school.
Colleen Alpern, principal at Clover Bar Junior High, is excited to meet all the new students and plans to learn all 350 names.
“We’re going to really work on building a lot of school spirit and I think there is a fantastic staff here, a great feeling in the air and we are really excited to welcome all the students,” Alpern said.
Before taking the principal position at Clover Bar, she worked for Alberta Education. Alpern, during her 30 years in education, has been principal at École Campbelltown, Ardrossan Elementary and Westboro Elementary. She’s thrilled about her latest opportunity.
“We’re going to try to continue to build up the programs that exist at Clover Bar right now and I know we have a really strong CTS program, really strong music programs and we’ll continue to build on those,” Alpern said. “There are a number of options we’re exploring too so that kids can have different experiences.”
F.R. Haythorne is another junior high that is getting a new principal this year. Jessica Smith will now be leading F.R. Haythorn and she’s no stranger to the school since she served as assistant principal three years in the past. Formerly principal at Fort Elementary and École Campbelltown, her entire career 19-year career has been with Elk Island Public Schools.
“I grew up here and went through Elk Island Public Schools as a student as well,” explained Smith. “I started in École Campbelltown for kindergarten, went to Wes Hosford, Sherwood Heights and Bev Facey.”
She’s thrilled to be in charge of a junior high this year, which is expecting a student body of around 650 students; “I have always loved the energy in a junior high. I think there is so much potential these kids have to try anything and learn everything. We have such a great opportunity to invest in our kids in junior high.”
Salisbury Composite High School is also welcoming a new principal this year.
Sunny Sandhu, principal of Salisbury Composite High School, was previously principal at Fort Saskatchewan High School and before that he served as principal of the Next Step Outreach Schools.
“I’m really looking forward to coming back to Salisbury because I was an assistant principal at Salisbury (before his positions in Fort Saskatchewan and at Outreach) for around five years,” Sandhu said. “I’ve been an administrator for over 10 years, both as assistant principal and as principal.”
Sandhu grew up in Edmonton but much of his career has been spent east of that city. He has close to 15 years experience working with Elk Island Public Schools.
“Salisbury has such a strong tradition and this year we’re celebrating the 50th anniversary of the building,” he said. “There is lots to reflect upon in terms of the strong traditions but also lots to look forward to at the school for the future.“
Salisbury will be welcoming around 1,200 students for the 2019-20 school year. Sandhu outlined that can be intimidating for students from smaller schools but wants to assure them they will feel right at home in no time.