Woolwich kids will notice a shakeup at two of their schools come September as Park Manor and Breslau public schools will both be getting new principals.Current Breslau PS principal Sharlene McHolm is making the move to Park Manor, while Park Manor’s James Bond will head up Tait Street Public School in Cambridge.
Tait Street’s principal, Marcia Lubert, will take over principal duties at Breslau PS. The shuffling was initiated by the Waterloo Region District School Board.
“They have the abilities to look at the bigger picture piece of things. What they try to do is they try to match the talents and skills of an administrator with the needs of a community,” McHolm said. “In this case they have determined that it would be a good move for me to move to Park Manor and for James to go to Tait. Typically principals stay at a school for a certain period of time and then they move them to other sites.”
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She took over as principal this year after serving as vice-principal. Locally, she also worked at Keats Way Public School and Lincoln Avenue Public School. She’s also taught internationally, and at a prison school.
“It’s kind of exciting for us to have the opportunity to go into different communities and have the opportunity to get to know different communities. It’s a lovely opportunity.
“I have been fortunate because I have taught K-12 and I’ve been an administrator for K-12, so I’ve had the opportunity to see the most wonderful part of every age group,” McHolm said. “The [Grade] 6, 7, 8 children are exciting because they’re coming to know who they are and who they want to be. And they’re excited about what the future holds. But every age group is delightful for very different reasons.”
She’s looking forward to working in Elmira since she also grew up in a small farming community, Welcome, Ont. She says it’s almost like going home because of the small town feel she’s used to. But there are definitely aspects of Breslau PS she’s sad to say goodbye to.
“The smiles on little people’s faces when they say good morning or hello I will miss that terribly because I have become part of this community and will be sad to not be able to see them almost every day,” McHolm said. “It’s the relationships that you build with the children, with the staff, and with the parents that make the job such a rewarding job.”
Bond spent time at Northlake Woods Public School, Lester B Pearson Public School, and Eastwood Collegiate Institute before his six-year stint at Park Manor, which came to a close this week.
Originally from Galt, Bond says he’s enjoyed helping the students get ready for high school.
“From being a high school teacher and administrator I know where they’re going and it’s exciting to see how well equipped the students leave here,” Bond said. “I’ve heard from the high school our students do really well in high school, so I’m going to miss that.”
One of the highlights for him was the holiday turkey luncheon they started the year he became principal. He says that tradition is all about celebrating community. They also had the Panther Cup last year where new Grade 6 students were mixed up with older students on teams to help them build school community between the grades.
They also defined the four paws of a Panther a few years ago – know yourself, respect yourself, respect others, and work hard.
“I think from the school’s point of view I feel like this is my second family,” Bond said. “I’ve been here six years, the longest I’ve ever been anywhere in my career and we’ve been on such a journey together as a staff. Even with the technology, where we started to where we are now. It’s how the teachers have changed the way they teach. The way students learn is so different from when we started.”
He says just watching how the teachers are committed to trying new technology and new ways that students learn has taught him a lot. It’s an exciting time for the students at these grade levels because they’re maturing and figuring out who they are.
“Change is good. The new principal’s going to come in and she’s going to have a different skill set and passions which can help tweak some things that I wasn’t very good at or passionate about,” Bond said.
He’ll miss the conversations with students he’s come to know, but he’s also eager to start learning from the younger children at Tait Street.
“I’m going to miss the older kids for sure,” Bond said. “But it’s a great school too. It’ll be a good experience. I know we’re getting a good principal here.”