Janet Meyer is the new permanent superintendent of Coast Mountains School District 82.
Meyer has worked as a teacher, principal, director of instruction and director of human resources at School District 82 before becoming the acting superintendent last year. Her appointment was announced June 17.
“I felt gratitude to all the people with whom I work and there’s a little bit of fear but that’s okay, I’m okay with fear and I’m okay with not knowing everything because I’m surrounded by expertise and I’m surrounded by a team that’s supportive of each other,” said Meyer.
The school board describes her as a “widely respected effective leader, team builder and committed educator.” She has a master’s degree in education in leadership studies with a focus on Indigenous parent participation in schools from the University of Victoria.
Meyer has been in the role of acting superintendent since June 2019.
“I did nothing but learn,” said Meyer. “What I did learn is not necessarily something new but it was reaffirmed for me, it was about the people, and the people in this school district that care so very much for our kids and are willing to do anything they can do to support our kids.”
She replaces Katherine McIntosh, who is currently seconded to the Ministry of Education in Victoria.
McIntosh’s tenure at the Coast Mountain School District was controversial. She held the position of superintendent since 2014, but in April 2019 the district reassigned three school administrators – a decision that was panned for a lack of transparency.
Cindy Sousa was appointed as the new principal of Skeena Middle School and Julia Jacobs was tabbed to become principal of Suwilaawks Community School.
Existing Skeena Middle School principal Phillip Barron, Skeena vice principal Cory Killoran and Suwilaawks Community School principal Pam Kawinsky chose instead to return to the classroom.
That prompted a walk out protest by students at Skeena Middle School, a 99 per cent vote of non-confidence by district teachers and appeals to intervene made to the education ministry by the BC Association of Aboriginal Friendship Centres and the Kermode Friendship Society.
The board decided, as a result of the furor, to commission an independent report. Since, then the reassignments have been scrapped and Barron, Killoran and Kawinsky remain in their administrative roles. And this spring, Killoran was named principal of Uplands Elementary in Terrace, replacing the retiring Pat Mouland.
In June 2019 McIntosh took a leave of absence. Soon after, her temporary position with the education ministry was announced, prompting the appointment of Meyer as the acting superintendent.
“I never thought that it would happen this way and I never would have wanted it to happen this way based on the circumstances but I’m happy with the offer, I’m happy with the opportunity and I’m honoured actually to be offered this position,” said Meyer.
She said that her goal is to continually get better at her role in a leadership position and push the school district to reach its goals for student engagement, numeracy, Indigenization of curriculum and supporting Indigenous language revitalization.