New faces at Greentree School
Tomorrow, September 1, parents of students at Greentree School will get freedom once again as their kids will be shuffling to the bus and back to class. The elementary school is welcoming a number of staff changes and program improvements for the upcoming school year.
Principal Erin Bentley-Campbell said staff have been at the school prepping their coursework for the last week and a number of new faces will be leading classrooms this year after some teachers switched grades and others returned from maternity leave.
The new Grade 5 teacher, Priya Stephen, is a recent grad coming from placement in Airdrie, who principal Bentley- Campbell said is bringing “lots of ideas for programs.” Drumhel l e r local Tracie Clark has been hired for “Achieving Independence,” the special needs program at the school.
Kindergarten teacher Robert Rowland comes from Wabasca in northern Alberta and is described by Bentley-Campbell as “very keen, experienced, and comes with a lot of kindergarten and also technology background,” and also brings with him the rare and added bonus of being a male instructor.
“It’s nice to have that opportunity, and lots of little boys will be excited to have a male kindergarten teacher,” she said.
“I’ve gone to a lot of conferences and I can count my male compatriots on one hand,” Rowland said. “We are definitely a dying breed in elementary education, and I’ve known a lot of parents who have wanted their kids in my class because of that.”
Rowland is making the move from the small northern village to Drumheller in order to live closer to family.
“I was looking for positions around this area because my dad lives in Sundre, and when this came up I was white on rice applying for it. I love the area,” Rowland said.
Physical education instructor Jennie Lovan found a permanent position with Greentree after subbing for the school last year. She was educated in Ontario and worked at a private board there for one and a half years before wanting a move to the public system. Opportunities in Alberta brought her here. “It happened a lot faster than I thought it would. I applied everywhere in Canada and when I got a call from Golden Hills (school division) I packed up,” she said. Lovan is enjoying the pace of Drumheller compared to Toronto and says education in smaller centres like Drumheller are more holistic compared to the massive school divisions in metro areas.
“I found in Toronto at the private school that they focus on grades. I find there is more community involvement here. There was less emotional focus there – here, you’re developing the whole person with more of a motivational and social development focus,” Lovan said.
“As long as I have a job here I’ll be here. I feel like I’m starting to make long term plans already,” she said.
Principal Bentley-Campbell said a new portable unit will be installed in a few weeks after being delayed due to wet weather. Once installed, a Grade 6 classroom will be moved in. She said the school has a number of program changes in the works which will be announced shortly.
Greentree School is back in session on Thursday and kindergarten teacher Robert Rowland and physical education instructor Jennie Lovan will be some of the newer faces greeting students.