Monday, May 18, 2009

Q & A With Mrs. Sarginson: Imagine, Inquire, Inspire

This post comes from the Haultain Parent Association blog and has been re-posted with permission as it will be of interest to parents of McKenzie Towne students.

The CBE has hired a principal for McKenzie Towne. Shane, from the Haultain School Council, had a chance to meet with Mrs. Annette Sarginson through email and she was kind enough to do a short Question and Answer for their blog. Please join me in welcoming Mrs. Sarginson to Haultain and McKenzie Towne.

1) How long have you been a principal and where was that experience?

I have had the privilege of being the principal for 11 years at three different locations. Each experience has been rewarding with children learning, parents involved and staff focused on keeping children at the centre. I began at Maple Ridge school, moved to James Short Memorial and then on to Janet Johnstone School. Each was unique and an inspiring opportunity.

2) Before that, how long and where were you teaching?

I taught at a number of schools before becoming an administrator. I taught kindergarten, grade 1 and 2, in James Short and Ramsay. I was a specialist for Kindergarten and Language Arts for three years. I was fortunate to teach art, drama, physical education, and library skills to Division II at Mountain View as an AP. During my first principalship, I taught art and drama to two special education classes in Division I and II. I believe it is my 23rd year of teaching.

3) Do you have children of your own?

We have two adorable children who now have their own children. Yes, I am a grandmother to three grandchildren, ages 2, 4 and 6 years. Until I became a grandmother, I didn't realize it is "the best of the best".

4) Where did you go to university?

I attended the University of Calgary for my undergraduate and graduate work. My emphasis was on Early Childhood. I went to university after I was married and had two children during that time period.

5) If you had to sum up your teaching philosophy in one sentence, what would it be?

That is an excellent question as it causes me to reflect on my beliefs and values. First and foremost, "Every child matters". If I envision for a moment it is about living together in a democratic community where children are actively engaged in meaningful learning. Here's a motto that captures the celebration of children learning and may read something like "Imagine. Inquire. Inspire."

6) How do you feel about fund raising using casinos?

Although I don't gamble, I respect that for our school, having a casino is the most effective and efficient way to raise money for our children and their learning. Extra resources are a support and an asset to a school climate. In thinking what is significant is the ability for our children to be critical thinkers and with that having a strong connection with technology, curriculum and the arts. Technology is ever changing and with that comes expenditure....

7) What role do you see parents fulfilling in today's public education system?

I see parents having a number of different roles in a school community. The traditional roles of volunteering in the classroom or learning commons (library), helping out with field trips, being involved in School Council, are invaluable. I purport that embracing the sense of mutual respect between us and having conversations and exploring questions that matter will extend our notion of what is important to our children and their learning.

8) What do you see as the biggest challenge faced by McKenzie Towne Elementary School (name TBD) for the 2009/2010 year?

I could concur there will most certainly be hiccups along the way. It will be as much how we face the problems and think deeply about how to solve them as the challenges themselves. It may require us to 'think out of the box'. It will be paramount to take the time to build a spirit of community and form relationships of students, staff and parents. That will keep us focused on what's significant. Together we will be able to solve the challenges and find results. Change is ever present - it is providing the time, quality time to work as a team.

9) In your past school(s), was the Council/Parent Association active and collaborative?

Very much collaboration and team work are at the forefront. I am delighted to work alongside the School Council for the betterment of our children and their learning.

10) Can you tell us your favourite moments as a teacher and/or principal?

I am energized when I hear the everyday stories regarding students and their learning. It is about children stopping me in the halls and showing their work. It is a sense of wonder to hear their excitement. When I visit classrooms it is seeing all children engrossed in learning. It is the reward of learning! It heartens me that we have such outstanding and blossoming citizens.

Another favourite moment is when I hear staff talking about working with all their children in eloquent ways and having success with a most high spirited child. I have a great interest in living in a just and equitable world. To that end, much of my life has been invested in the development of our young children. May we do so together.

Thanks to Mrs. Sarginson for her time and for her thoughtful answers.

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