Terry Sullivan is gearing up for one busy year.
The Kamloops-Thompson School District superintendent has just agreed to act as president of the B.C. School Superintendents’ Association (BCSSA).
It’s the first time the organization has had a president from Kamloops, and his appointment will enable a focus on challenges specific to the Interior, like managing an urban and rural mix sprawled over tens of thousands of kilometres.
But it’s a touchy time to take on the role.
The BCSSA is not known as outspoken since superintendents have the dual role of answering to school boards as well as the education minister.
But Sullivan has stepped in just as all sides of the beleaguered education system are asking the BCSSA to weigh in.
“We were asked to give input to this agreement in committee that was approved at the BCPSEA (B.C. Public School Employers’ Association) on Saturday and also we were asked to give input to the government’s (framework for teacher contract negotiations) that came out on Thursday,” said Sullivan.
And then there’s the provincial election in May.
“(The BCSSA) will be asked I’m sure for positions and initiatives around that,” he said.
Sullivan’s new role will also serve as advocate to superintendents who don’t have the same job security as unionized workers and can be fired with or without cause.
All the responsibilities require a highly tuned sensitivity to the widely divergent politics that exist from board to board, especially as the province heads into the election, said Sullivan.
With all this to juggle, Sullivan also has his local superintendent’s hat to wear, which he said he intends to put first.
There’s plenty of work to do in the local realm with CUPE contract bargaining now underway and teachers negotiations launching at the end of the month.