UES vice principal Teresa Cameron, left, and principal Jaime Hansen hold open the kindergarten door for their new troop of little learners. (Nora O’Malley / Westerly News)

UES vice principal Teresa Cameron, left, and principal Jaime Hansen hold open the kindergarten door for their new troop of little learners. (Nora O’Malley / Westerly News)

Ucluelet Elementary welcomes new principal

“My great grandfather moved to Tofino in late 1913 and my mom’s family is from Ahousaht.”

The kindergarten kids won’t be the only fresh faces exploring the halls and learning the ropes this fall.

Jaime Hansen is diving into a new school and new leadership role as principal of Ucluelet Elementary School after fourteen years as vice principal at Wickaninnish Community School.

“I’m really excited to see what this school is about and see where I fit in and where I can help lead the staff in a positive direction,” said Hansen.

“I feel I have a lot to offer and what I don’t know I am more than willing to find out.”

Hansen is a third generation West Coaster. As a young student, she attended Wickaninnish Community and Ucluelet Secondary School.

“My great grandfather moved to Tofino in late 1913 and my mom’s family is from Ahousaht and we have family ties to Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations. We’re really from the area,” she said.

Teresa Cameron, 34, joins Hansen from a teaching stint in Northern Alberta as the new vice principal of UES.

“I love the West Coast. I’m an Islander. I’m from Victoria originally so the opportunity to come back to the West Coast and to work in a smaller community with First Nations was exciting to me,” said Cameron, whose background includes teaching on Haida Gwaii.

“I had a really good time working on Haida Gwaii and I realize there are a lot of connections between here and there. There are a lot of similarities.”

Cameron hopes to bring the knowledge she’s gathered from past professional development in Alberta and British Columbia to her new Grade 4/5 class.

“I’m also excited to see all the different ways kids here in this community can tap into local organizations that seem to have a lot of passion for educating people, youths, tourists, everyone, about the local environment,” she said.

“I’m really excited to tap into some of those experiences.”

In addition to tackling her new administration role, Cameron is completing a Masters Degree in special education.

Hansen said she was a little heartbroken to make the switch from being a teacher to solely an administrator.

“I’m slowly getting there,” she said. “Now my role is to share and work with others what I know. I think it’s a good move for me for my personal growth and I think this is a great place to do it.”

This year, Ucluelet Elementary will have two kindergarten classes rather than one. Enrollment is up from 202 students in 2016/17 to about 227 this school year.

“We have a lot of little people. It’s fun and exciting. Good energy,” said principal Hansen.

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