A matter of 'principal'
Three in Keewatin leaving the helm

by Jeff Colbourne
Northern News Services

RANKIN INLET (Apr 02/97) - Three principals in the Keewatin are stepping down from the helm.

Arviat's Bill Cooper, Whale Cove's Virginia Torio and Coral Harbour's Caroline Thompson recently handed their resignations in to the Keewatin Divisional Education Council.

And, according to Sandy Kusugak, chair of the board, the demands and pressure may have got to them.

"The job of principal is extremely difficult," said Kusugak, last week. "Everything that basically happens in the schools falls upon the principals."

If there's a break-in at the school in the middle of the night, the principal is the first to get called. If a teacher can't make it to work, the principal has to substitute. And, if any meetings take place after hours, the principal has to attend.

Bill Cooper is currently the acting principal at Qitiqliq school in Arviat. The position is for one year and he has decided not stay on in the position.

With a wife and two small children, Cooper said things are too busy and the school demands too much of his time.

He said instead of being principal next year he would like to go into the classroom full time and teacher math and science.

Coral Harbour's Sakku school principal Caroline Thompson is also stepping down. She is hoping to teach in another school in the Keewatin.

The third resigning principal is Virginia Torio of Whale Cove's Inuglak school. She is retiring after 32 years in the teaching field.

Kusugak said with student enrolment increasing and classes getting bigger, principals have to spend more time planning classes and teaching, in addition to fulfilling expected administrative duties.

"It's incredibly demanding. I don't know how long you can expect them to keep up the pace," said Kusugak.

"We're asking them to do so much.... we're burning them out."

Now that the principals have put in their notifications, the positions will go out for competition.

Lynn Braiden, comptroller with the Keewatin education authority, said resumes and candidates have been whittled down to a short list and some interviews have taken place, but no one has been hired as of yet.