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New principal ready to welcome students

Roxanna Thompson
Northern News Services
Thursday, August 23, 2007

FORT SIMPSON - The halls of Bompas elementary school are quiet at the moment, but Chris Kingsbury is looking forward to having them full of students.

NNSL Photo/Graphic

Chris Kingsbury, the new principal at Bompas elementary school in Fort Simpson, is looking forward to the start of the school year. - Roxanna Thompson/NNSL photo

When students return to their classes on Aug. 29, they'll meet Kingsbury, the new principal at the Fort Simpson school.

Although Kingsbury had only visited the village twice before moving to the community a week ago, he's already full of praise for the school.

One of the original facts that impressed him about the school is the high attendance rate. At around 94 per cent, it's almost unheard of for the North, said Kingsbury.

"I think that shows the community is very supportive of education," he said.

During his visits to the school he was also struck by how well the school is set up to meet the needs of students with FASD and also by the staff team. The staff is hard working and there for the kids, he said.

"I'm excited about another terrific year working with a staff that's quite fantastic," said Kingsbury.

Since moving to the community, Kingsbury has been familiarizing himself with the school by reading through materials and the Education Act. He's also been preparing the professional development days that the staff will have on Aug. 27-28 prior to the beginning of school

Kingsbury won't be the only new face at the school. Teachers new to the school this year include Barbara Penney in Class 1, Deborah Sketchley in Class 2 and Anna Myers in Class 5. The school will also be welcoming Katharina Horbach, a Beaver volunteer from Germany.

For Kingsbury, working at Bompas has actually put him in a larger school than he's used to.

For the past six years he worked as the principal at the Eliza VanBibber school in Pelly Crossing, Yukon. The school, which serves K-12, has about 63 students. Bompas is three times that size.

Prior to that, Kingsbury worked as a teacher in a number of schools including the Buffalo River Dene school in Dillon, Sask. and a school in Lloydminster, Sask.

For Kingsbury, the move to the Northwest Territories is a return to his teaching roots. His first teaching job from 1990-98 was at the Chief Jimmy Bruneau school in Behchoko.

"I quite enjoyed it," he said about his eight years at the school.

Kingsbury is originally from Guelph, Ont.

"I'm quite excited to be here," Kingsbury said about Fort Simpson.

Terry Jaffray should be thanked for keeping the school in such great shape, he said. Jaffray, who worked at the school for a total of 17 years - including holding the role of principal since 1998 - has moved on to become a teacher consultant with the Dehcho Divisional Education Council.