Change is afoot at the Humboldt School Division as a pair of departing superintendents will see new people enter the fold. Those faces will be new in the position, but not new to the division.
Deputy Director Randolph McLEAN has undertaken a new position in eastern Canada while superintendent Darrell Paproski, long affiliated with the division, will head into retirement. While there will not be a Deputy Director designated, the two new imports to the vacant positions are Trish Maxwell and Cory Popoff.
Maxwell takes on the role of Superintendent of Inclusive Education. She will steward Horizon School Division in pursuit of its primary goals, she explains.
“One of them is the Safe and Caring Schools goal. It targets a safe and caring learning environment for students and staff, and that is the heart of inclusive education. Student success is our priority, and our goal is that everyone feels included, protected and respected.”
Maxwell explains that when these goals are met, students experience their best learning.
Another focus is diversity, and given how it enriches school culture, Maxwell explains it's important that students have experiences that increase their knowledge and understanding of similarities and differences. In the educational context, diversity reflects a range of facets including cultures, socio-economic situations, languages, learning needs, sexual orientation, and gender identity, says Maxwell.
Maxwell has been an instructional coach on the Horizon Division’s Learning Team for the past seven years. The unit provides direct and indirect instructional support for learning in classrooms.
“My direct support would be that I’m in classrooms, and I am either teaching myself, or co-teaching, or working with small groups of students. What I find so rewarding with that is working with classroom teachers and administrators, and collaborating in a way that is going to meet the needs of students.”
Her new role allows her to continue those collaborative connections with students and staff to see that the best learning outcomes are attained by meeting inclusive education goals. Maxwell acknowledges her predecessor, Darrell Paproski who supported Maxwell in her former role.
“The legacy that he leaves is amazing. He is very well respected, and I know I have big shoes to fill.”
Cory Popoff is well known throughout the Division having come from the role of principal at Humboldt Collegiate Institute. Popoff moves into the role of Superintendent of Human Resources, meaning that much of the work in hiring and assessing staff for the Division falls on his shoulders.
“I do get the great responsibility of ensuring that we have staff in front of our students that are excellent and able to take care of our students and facilitate their learning and growth.”
For Popoff, it’s about relationships, and he clearly values the strong relationships he’s formed over the years with colleagues. He’s looking forward to expanding that circle, meeting new staff members, and assisting in supporting their development.
His transition to the new role is bittersweet given his attachment to the staff and students at HCI. In 2002, Popoff began his administration career in Kamsack as vice-principal before undertaking his duties at HCI in 2008. Fourteen years later, Popoff is embarking on a new phase of his career.
“I wanted a change, and I didn’t want to move from our community. This was a win-win situation. I’ll still be in touch with HCI obviously in a different context, but I certainly will miss HCI.”
Popoff spoke well of his predecessor, Randolph MacLEAN, who had shared responsibility for human resources.
“He’s been a very positive role model; I look up to him not only because he’s taller than me,“ Popoff quips, “But because he’s moved across the country and has seen education in a variety of different contexts. His diversity, his way of thinking has opened my mind to certain possibilities and be creative in terms of approaching challenges and growing as an individual.”
Popoff has assumed his duties at the division office already with MacLEAN’s departure, and Maxwell will shift roles soon. Both will continue with their personal dedication and commitment to students in a new fashion.