There will be a new principal at the helm of North Peace Secondary School in the fall.
School District 60 has announced the appointment of Todd Koponyas as principal effective Aug. 1. Koponyas moves from his current role as vice-principal, and will take over from Randy Pauls, who has served as the school's principal for eight years.
"We all congratulate Mr. Koponyas on his appointment as principal of North Peace Secondary School effective August 1st, 2021. We also thank Mr. Pauls for his 21 years of educational leadership in our District, the last eight as principal of NPSS," said Superintendent Stephen Petrucci.
"Mr. Koponyas brings a wealth of experience to this position. He started out teaching band at NPSS, gained experience as part of the Key Learning Center staff, and then served as a vice-principal and principal at Prespatou School. Most recently, he has been the vice-principal at NPSS."
Koponyas said he was humbled by the support and that he looked forward to growing the high school.
"I am excited to take on the leadership role of principal of NPSS in SD60, and humbled by all of the support. The opportunity to continue to lead and learn with the fantastic team at NPSS is one that I do not take lightly," Koponyas said.
"I know that I have big shoes to fill as I move into the next stage of my career. I look forward to continuing to grow the excellence that is NPSS for all the students, staff and community of School District 60, as we move forward into the future."
Pauls first began teaching in Surrey and moved to Fort St. John in 2000. The city remains home, but after 33 years in education it was time to move on, he said.
"After 33 years in education, it is time for me to move on to other things. I worked for 12 years in Surrey, 11 as a teacher and one as a vice-principal. We moved here in August of 2000. It was a great choice for my family! I started as a vice-principal at NPSS, then spent 2 years as principal of Clearview School, then 6 years as principal of The Key Learning Centre and finally 8 years as principal of NPSS," Pauls said.
"I love this town and all the people in it. The people 'own' the school and all that goes on it," he continued.
"The community supports its students in so many ways! I have had the pleasure of working with so many dedicated staff over the years that give so much to making the learning here a great thing for kids. I believe we have one of the best schools in the province. If a student wants to be a doctor or lawyer, we have excellent academic courses and teachers for them. If a students needs a different educational environment to be successful, we have that. If a students want to be a welder, carpenter, or oil field operator, we have courses for them. We are good at all those things and students being successful in all these areas.
"Our School District is very innovative and supportive! We have a great partnership with Northern Lights College! I am extremely grateful to have been given the opportunity to lead this school for 8 years. I have enjoyed it immensely. However it time to move on! Thirty three years with one thousand teenagers every year is enough - lol! My wife and I want to travel and have four grandkids to spoil. I have many hobbies and interests to keep me busy!
"We have no intention of moving away - this is our home and our community."
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[Eds. note: Article updates with comments from Randy Pauls, Todd Koponyas.]