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OUR HOMETOWN: Lifelong learner

Lake City Secondary School principal Craig Munroe got his first teaching job in Williams Lake
Lake City Secondary School principal Craig Munroe. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Lake City Secondary School’s principal is proud of the efforts being made by staff and teachers to deliver the best education they can during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We have been developing this on the go because we have never been down this road before in all the time I’ve had in education,” said Craig Munroe.

“We have not had a lot of time to test out what we are doing or to see what works best so we plan for the best and a lot of teachers have been improvising or making things work as they go along.”

There has been a lot of change, he added.

Munroe oversees LCSS’s two campuses where there are approximately 1,400 students.

Getting to know who all the students are has been difficult because Munroe splits his time between Columneetza and WL.

“Obviously with masks, it has been even more challenging, but I have four excellent vice-principals who are really doing an amazing job keeping both sites running and the day-today operations are running smoothly because of their efforts.”

In his family, Munroe was the youngest of five children.

Born in Ontario, his family moved to Courtenay, B.C. when his late father, Eric Munroe, was stationed with the military there.

After graduating from George P. Vanier Secondary School in Courtenay, he followed his father’s footstep and pursued a career with the military.

He attended Royal Roads Military College in Victoria, studying physics and space science. Upon completion he was posted in North Bay, Ont. as an air weapons controller.

Munroe worked rotating shifts in a complex that was 600 feet underground and carved out of the rock.

For one summer he was deployed to Hungary to support the no-fly zone over Bosnia.

While in North Bay he helped tutor someone who was completing his Grade 12.

When the military rolled out its force-reduction plan he seized the opportunity to leave the military and decided to become a teacher.

He attended the University of Victoria (UVIC) and paid for his education by fighting forest fires in the summers.

Originally he planned to teach elementary school but upon graduation applied for a physics teacher position at Columneetza in 1999.

Peter Smith, principal at the time, interviewed him and hired him as science teacher. He taught Grade 9 and 10 science classes and Grade 11 and 12 physics.

Coincidentally, his girlfriend Lori Neave, who grew up in Quesnel and also went to UVIC, was hired as the Grade 2 teacher at Alexis Creek Elementary School.

They were married the next year.

In 2006, Munroe completed a master’s degree in administration and leadership through distance learning with the University of Calgary.

“In the middle of all that we had our first two children and then I got my first principal position at Tatla Lake.”

The Munroes lived in a teacherage at Tatla Lake for two years. After that he worked at 100 Mile House Junior Secondary for four years, Marie Sharpe Elementary for two years, Columneetza again as vice-principal for three years, Mountview Elementary as principal for two years and returned to Lake City Secondary School.

Read more: LCSS 2020 graduates honoured, celebrated for achievements in Williams Lake

Munroe is quick to say he did not get to where he is on his own.

“I have to thank everybody that has supported me in this crazy adventure called life — right from all my colleagues in the profession — from teachers to principals and senior board staff and the students. This is a great place. But most importantly I have to say thanks to my wife.”

When Munroe isn’t working he loves to spend time with Lori and their children Jeremy, 18, Claire, 15, and Elliot, 12.

Together they train for triathlons and he competed with Lori in the 2018 Ironman in Whistler.

“I try to keep very active to keep that balanced piece of my life.”

Munroe likes the fact his family lives in a smaller community such as Williams Lake.

“I think of the year of the 2017 wildfires and whatnot and think here is an amazing community that really rallied around people and can support people when the time is required.”

Read more: OUR HOMETOWN: Top of her class

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Monica Lamb-Yorski

About the Author: Monica Lamb-Yorski

A B.C. gal, I was born in Alert Bay, raised in Nelson, graduated from the University of Winnipeg, and wrote my first-ever article for the Prince Rupert Daily News.
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