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Howe Sound School District has new superintendent



After several months of searching Howe Sound School District has chosen a new superintendent.

Dr. Rick Erickson will take up the position with the start of school in 2004.

"We are really happy that he is coming and we all look forward to working with him," said school board chair Amy Shoup.

The board was looking for someone with B.C. experience, know-how when it came to dealing with the government, experience at a district-level, and it hoped the successful candidate would stay in the position for some time.

"We believe (Erickson) will bring a lot of things to our district that will work for us very well," said Shoup,

"And we are hoping for sure that he will be here for longer than (our previous superintendents)."

It will be busy times for Erickson when he takes the helm in January. Whistler Secondary needs a new principal, the sports school program at Whistler Secondary needs to get on track and the committee investigating the feasibility of Blackwater Creek Elementary needs to wrap up.

Erickson, who enjoys skiing, hiking and sailing said he is looking forward to his new post and is already planning for the opportunities and challenges ahead.

"I see Howe Sound, in one way, as a confederation of distinct communities," he said from the Maple Ridge School Board office where he is currently deputy superintendent.

"…I see that as a challenge and opportunity in working with the staff and the parents and the kids to improve student learning."

Erickson has held various positions in Maple Ridge at the board level since 1988. Prior to that he worked in Rossland-Trail both at a board level and in the schools. He has taught both at the elementary and secondary school level.

He has extensive experience with the former school accreditation process and the current district accountability process. He was also involved in the development of and served on two District Review Teams last year, the first year of the process. He has a particular interest in Special Education.

Erickson’s Ph.D. is in Educational Leadership with a concentration in school and program evaluation to improve student learning.

"I think the work I have done in school improvement focusing on goals and developing objectives will serve the diverse communities," said Erickson.

And, he said, he is very excited to be part of the district that will host the 2010Winter Olympic Games.

"That in itself brings with it a number of challenges and opportunities for the communities and the kids," he said.

One of those challenges is helping parents, kids and schools train competitively and get an education.

"I understand the intensity of training," said Erickson adding that working in Rossland raised many of the same issues for the school board there.

"Now days with schools of choice the concept in the public system is to provide alternatives to kids and parents with regard to the education they want to pursue and in the manner they want to pursue it.

"There are different situations that we need to be flexible about."

The position became available in August when Dr. Linda Rossler accepted a position in Alberta. Dallas Cristofoli, a former superintendent in the district, has been serving as interim superintendent.