With the school year well under way, new principal Curt Baron, at St. Augustine Catholic School takes some time to talk about his role.
Having been employed with St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Schools for the past 11 years, Baron looks forward to the challenge of being in a school with kindergarten to Grade 12 students. He served as the principal for Father Lacombe Catholic School in Lacombe for the last several years, which is a K to Grade 9 school.
“I started here in St. Augustine teaching Grade 6 for three years, and then I was vice-principal here,” explained Baron.
He is also a resident of Ponoka and enjoys the chance to “reconnect with people here.” The challenge he faces is getting a feel for how the high school operates.
“It’s always good to change and people to take on new challenges. It’s a great place. It’s a huge school…that’s a whole aspect of my career I’ve never had to do,” he said. “For me that’s a good thing in my career to try something new. I’m teaching Grade 10 religion this year.”
Despite some nervousness in his new role, he feels the staff keeps the school operating, which helps him get used to being the principal in a larger school. Baron praised Kevin Prediger, who recently transferred to Sacred Heart School in Wetaskiwin, for preparing the school for him.
“Kevin did a great job of bringing everything where it needs (to be); and it’s not just Kevin, it’s the entire staff. They do what needs to be done and they do it very well,” said Baron.
Baron feels comfortable with this change as well because of his involvement and history with St. Augustine. “The nice thing about coming here is I know a good chunk of the staff. I kind of have those relations established, even though it’s been six years. We’ve kind of been in touch, my kids are in the school.”
He believes he can be a bridge between Ponoka and Lacombe should the need arise for Father Lacombe to expand to a high school.
The school has just celebrated its 50th anniversary and Baron took some time to consider its history. The first graduating class had about eight students, but this year should have approximately 25 students graduating.
“I guess the fact that there has been Catholic education here for 50 years is a milestone in itself,” said Baron.