The newly elected School District 27 Board of Trustees has hired a new superintendent.
The Board of Education announced Wednesday that Chris van der Mark is the successful candidate for the position.
van der Mark comes with previous superintendent experience from the Bulkley Valley and is expected to start in his new role in the spring.
“An enthusiastic and passionate educator, Mr. van der Mark brings with him over 23 years of school/district administrative experience and joins [School District 27] from the Bulkley Valley (School District No. 54) where he has served as Superintendent of Schools for the past eight years,” stated interim superintendent Diane Wright.
“Prior to this, Mr. van der Mark held leadership positions as the assistant superintendent and as secondary school administrator.”
Wright said the Board received applications from a number of strong candidates, but chose van der Mark based on his demonstrated leadership capabilities, broad understanding of the B.C. Education Plan, commitment to fiscal responsibility and good governance, and focus on improving student outcomes.
“The Board of Education looks forward to working with Mr. van der Mark when he assumes his new role this spring,” stated Board Chair Willow MacDonald.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us but trust that Mr. van der Mark’s strength in leadership, sound educational background, and demonstrated ability to build strong working relationships with staff, students, and community partners will steer the district in the right direction.”
The district’s previous superintendent, Mark Wintjes, resigned from his position in December and went back to teaching.
The district has had many challenges in recent years, including a vote of non-confidence against the board and management levied twice by the Cariboo Chilcotin Teachers Association.
In the last year the Board and management has been receiving guidance from a ministry-appointed special advisor.
Special advisor Mike McKay was appointed to help the board implement recommendations developed by education specialist Dianne Turner in a report to the minister last year.
Following a look into SD 27 operations, Turner’s recommendations focused on improving governance, business practices, communication, culture and relationships in SD27.
MacDonald told Black Press at the last board meeting that the new board, elected in November, is very focused and ready to work on building relationships and getting the board, and ultimately the district, back on a more positive track.