The West Coast is wishing happy trails to a popular, longtime administrator.
Jennifer Adamson is wrapping up her tenth year as Ucluelet Elementary School’s principal, but will start the next school-year with a new role in the province’s capital.
Adamson has accepted a position with the Victoria School District where she will be a school-based principal and also work in the Aboriginal Nations Department.
“I’m an Aboriginal person myself and I grew up in a community that had zero recognition of who Aboriginal people were and respect and culture and language of a living Aboriginal population in Canada. I have been passionate about the fact that all of my students and the students in British Columbia will never, ever, face that,” she said.
“That’s the kind of thing I want to be able to do more of and, being a single-administrator in this school, I’m not really able to have the kind of time that I want to have to do that kind of work…I want to have a bit more challenge in what I’m doing in my work and do more of the Aboriginal Nations piece.”
She said leaving the community she instantly fell in love with 10 years ago was a tough decision.
“We raised our kids here…The families in this school are our families. We’ve all raised our kids together and that’s going to be really, really, tough to leave,” she said.
“Just the other day, I was driving up the road and I knew every kid. Every single kid in this entire town, I know them all and I wave at them all and they wave back. The little things like that, I’m really going to miss.”
She said she’s seen many positive changes at the school during her tenure, including new playgrounds fundraised for by the school’s Parent Advisory Council, a new kitchen purchased in partnership with the District of Ucluelet that made way for a new breakfast program, and a school garden.
“I’d say the biggest piece I’m leaving is a very strong social-emotional learning space. Our kids are very balanced. They know about well-being. That’s really important to all of us. We take movement breaks. We get outside more,” she said.
“Our garden is a huge project that we’ve undertaken that really shows where our priorities are. We want kids to be outside. We want them to learn about being sustainable and about being global citizens. That was not really happening 10 years ago and, I think, we see a lot of that now.”
She added the local literacy rate is soaring.
“Literacy is, obviously, always a goal in schools and we have a really strong program,” she said. “All of our primary students are reading quicker and more fluently than ever before and our teachers are really involved.”
SD70 has not made a decision about her UES replacement.
“It might be posting and filling. It might just be moving a current administrator over. We’re not sure at this point,” Adamson said.
Adamson has enjoyed raising her family amongst Ucluelet’s vast recreational opportunities, particularly the Wild Pacific Trail, and received a Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013 for her work with Ucluelet’s Junior Canadian Ranger program, which she helped launch.
“That’s been a really important piece for me in the community,” she said of the Junior Rangers. “It’s changed all of our lives and I really want to thank the people that have been involved in that. It’s a very, very, positive program for the community and it will continue to grow and flourish.”