While some of the faces may be the same, the positions they hold have switched. Humboldt Collegiate Institute (HCI) will see a new administrative team leading the way.
David Millette assumes the role of principal after the departure of former principal Cory Popoff to Horizon School Division’s Central Office. Millette’s appointment as principal left two vacancies at vice-principal. One of those will be filled by current staff member Heidi Phillips. The second will see HCI newcomer and former Viscount principal, Eric Anderson.
Millette began teaching at HCI in 2009, primarily in the social science area. He’s long been a volleyball coach, and it’s a role he intends to continue. For the past five years, Millette has been part of the admin team at HCI. Now, he looks forward to his new role.
“My approach to leadership is really based on the skills and the abilities of staff and building on what the previous administration has established. I think with any change, you build on past experience and what works well, and then you use that to work with your present situation as you move into the future.”
Millette looks at his professional development as a reflective practice with the aid of a seasoned staff.
For Heidi Phillips, the position may be new, but she has worked hard over the years and committed herself to the education required to enter into a leadership position. Phillips arrived as a teacher at HCI in 2003, making her the longest tenured female teacher. During the course of her years at the high school, Phillips has taught hundreds of students a variety of subjects including English language arts, practical and applied arts, social studies, and others. With a long connection in extra-curriculars as well, Phillips decided to seek new challenges. She enrolled in a Master of Educational Administration program and explored opportunities to engage her new learning. She’s also excited for the learning to come.
After 19 years, I thought I knew everything about HCI,” Phillips quips, “But it’s been a steep learning curve for the last few weeks since I’ve started in here. I’m looking forward to relying on my admin team and the experience of Dave and Eric in the office. As much as I know about HCI and its inner workings, there’s so much I don’t know about admin, but I’m really excited to work with students in a different capacity. I love my classroom time, and I love HCI. It’s my family, but I’m really excited to take on this challenging role.”
Phillips also hopes that young women will see the possibilities that stem from education and for assuming positions of power in their own lives.
“For me, I felt it was finally time to ‘walk the walk’ that I’ve been teaching my females about putting themselves in positions of leadership and showing that women have a place at the table as well.”
Eric Anderson is a new face at HCI. A veteran administrator in the school division, Anderson has been principal at Viscount School for the past five years. Anderson refers to himself as a “travelling soldier”, having taken on teaching positions in Tisdale and Strasbourg, before landing in Viscount. He’s admittedly set to get hooked into the community, and as the new head coach for the Mohawk football team, he’ll have every chance to do so.
“We had our first football practice yesterday and had about fifty bodies out there,” says Anderson, “And by the sounds of it, we had about five more contacting students afterwards. I expect that number to grow, so it's a very positive looking group out there. I’m looking forward to what the year will bring for Mohawk football, and being a part of HCI in general.”
While the number of students in the school may have changed from his previous position, in the final analysis, Anderson maintains that “kids are kids” and he’s excited to work with them no matter the setting or the numbers.
Millette sums up the upcoming experience as being thankful, and he acknowledges for all three heading into new positions, that they are all grateful to their staff members, to their families, and for the opportunity to provide leadership in their cherished school.