A very familiar face is now the new leader of Wolf Creek Public Schools (WCPS).
Jayson Lovell, who has spent his 24-year career with WCPS in a variety of roles, was officially named as the school division’s new superintendent on Monday, July 4 following the approval of the hiring by provincial Ministry of Education. Lovell was selected by the WCPS board of Trustees from among a number of strong applicants during a special meeting of the board on June 18.
He was previously the assistant superintendent of People Services for WCPS before being named acting superintendent back in late January, following the announcement that Larry Jacobs was taking a leave of absence who the officially retired a month later.
Board chair Trudy Bratland stated in an email that the board appreciates the work Lovell has done since taking over.
“I can confirm that the board is confident that we have made the right decision after a very rigorous competition and that the feedback from the division staff that have contacted me since the announcement is all positive, as Jayson is highly regarded,” she said.
“He is a distinctive and well respected leader who has a wealth of knowledge, experience and foresight that will move our school division forward using a collaborative, people-centered approach.”
Lovell started out as a teacher when he arrived in 1993 before moving into an assistant principal role in Alix five years later, then as principal in 1999. Three years later, he became principal at Lacombe Composite before leaving to become an WCPS assistant superintendent in 2007. He also brings to the post a diploma in Criminology from MRC (now Mount Royal University) along with a Bachelor of Education degree from Canadian University College (now Burman University) and a Masters of Education from the University of Alberta.
“I’m honoured to have served in the acting superintendent role and now to be trusted with the leadership role for Wolf Creek Public Schools. I certainly had some strong interest in the position, but I didn’t take anything for granted heading into the process that I am quite familiar with,” explained Lovell in an interview on Friday, July 8.
“Throughout my different roles over the 24 years with Wold Creek, I’m most proud of being able to have built upon the level of leadership and trust plus the understanding of all the diversity this division has. From the small rural multi-grade schools right through to our biggest school at Lacombe Composite. I’ve been fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with each school and understand and celebrate all of their experiences.”
While the biggest asset he brings to the position is his time in WCPS, handling the wheel of the ship now and maintaining the positive direction of the division is going to be key.
“The most important and huge responsibility we have is to help students continue to achieve and our staff has been busy at an overwhelming pace. I want to further engage all stakeholders through continued transparency and inform them of the direction we are following. I also want to create those engagement opportunities at the highest level,” he explained.
To do that, Lovell says he has planned one-on-one chats with all of the staff at the division office plus short discussions with the principal and administration of each WCPS school in order to exchange and share information, ideas, values, direction and what it is going to take to achieve them.
“This is a key step if we are going to achieve the bold targets and strategies that have been set as well as monitor the success of our students. And if we find that we are not where we should be, it can help us figure out what we need to do to correct that,” he said.
“What do we do well and what are the challenges, barriers facing us – that’s why we also need to look at engaging with other stakeholders.”
In many ways, it’s like what WCPS has done with its literacy improvement project where a plan was generated with specific targets then focused on the roles staff needed to take on while tailoring and making changes based on advice from the front line personnel.
“Just like our three year plan, we need to ensure we have local guidance and receive input from a broad range of people. With the bold, ambitious goals we have there has to be substance behind it and that means having all stakeholders weighing in so they can buy into the plan,” Lovell added.
What everything boils down to for him is three words – effective, efficient and aligned.
“I’m excited with the opportunity and confident that the insight and experience I have gained can, along with making effective use of resources, being efficient in how we do things and aligning these with continuing to improve student achieve, help us reach our goals and I think the time is right to have these conversations,” he said.