Students in Merritt will see some new faces and the departure of some familiar faces this fall as School District 58 shuffles its staff.
The Board of School Trustees announced the movement of six staff members Tuesday, which follows the closure of Coquihalla Middle School.
The trustees have appointed Leroy Slanzi the principal for Merritt Central Elementary School, where he will take over from the outgoing Trent Dolgopol, who has accepted the position of principal at Spring Valley Elementary School in Kelowna after serving for five years with District 58. Slanzi joined the district in 2009, when he became principal of CMS.
"There's that part of you that doesn't want to leave, because you'll miss it," admits Dolgopol. "There's been a team of really strong people," he says of Merritt Central's success during his tenure. Dolgopol and his staff put together the school's breakfast and big brothers and sisters programs as well as a mentorship program with Merritt Secondary School.
Meanwhile, CMS's vice principal, Burt Bergmann, will take over principal duties at Nicola-Canford Elementary School, succeeding Theresa Strande, who has accepted a position as Helping Teacher and Health Promoting Schools coordinator as part of the District Counselling team.
"Mr Bergmann brings with him an education leadership style that will make connecting with individuals, students, and community an integral part of the school's learning environment," the district said in a statement.
Merritt Secondary School students will get a new vice principal in Alison Kuzio next fall. Kuzio replaces Darren Coates, who has accepted principal duties at Clearwater Secondary School. Kuzio joins the district from Mackenzie, B.C., where she was a teacher and principal designate at Mackenzie Secondary School since 2005.
"She brings with her a diverse background of experiences and is a well-respected educational leader and community member," the district said.
Earlier this year, Superintendent Bob Peacock projected that there would be a minimal loss of staff positions with the closure of CMS as a result of declining enrolment. Peacock said six positions would be cut after adjustments to declining enrolment and one other after the reconfiguration.
"We have hired a few teachers and are still looking for a secondary counsellors," says Peacock. "As a result of the school closure, three clerical staff have reduced hours and one custodian has lost a job. All the teaching staff have found a home."