Dr. Scott Benwell, who is currently seconded to the British Columbia Ministry of Education, resigned from his job as Superintendent of Schools and Chief Executive Officer of SD85, effective as of July 31.
Dr. Benwell, who will be moving on to a new job as Superintendent of Instruction and Chief Executive Officer of School District 64 (Gulf Islands) effective July 31, 2019, agreed to an interview with the North Island Gazette about his time spent working with SD85.
How would you sum up your time spent with SD85?
It has been an enormous pleasure to serve the communities of the North Island. Having grown up on the island, it was really nice to get back to the salt water after spending way too much time inland. SD85 is a very special place and it has been my role to work with the Board of Education and the communities to ensure that there is a return on the significant investment made in education. In British Columbia, we invest in public education so that every student has the opportunity to succeed and I have consistently tried to hold myself and others to that commitment.
What are you most proud of accomplishing for the School District?
Accomplishments are never individual efforts but, having said that, I’m proud that students are doing much better on the foundational skills that success is built upon. Results in SD85 have, in some cases, doubled and that is promising because confident and successful learners tend to stay in school and graduate. The future success of communities is built on having talented and capable young people coming out of our schools. The Board of Education approved many innovative courses and made student learning a priority during my time as superintendent.
Do you feel public education on the North Island has been moving in the right direction?
A vibrant and successful public education system is essential, and we build trust within our communities when students are successful. I see greater responsibility for student success being taken in schools across the North Island. High quality education is everyone’s responsibility in a school district, our communities should expect it. In fact, families and communities should demand excellence in their local school district. As educators, it is our job to stay current in our practice and to, first and foremost, believe in the success of each and every student. If we let that slip, so too will the trust in our schools. Schools that believe that every student will be a success do very well.
Is there anything you want the communities to know about your time spent here?
Spending time in the North Island is not over. With family staying in the area, we will be back often and will continue to enjoy the endless recreational opportunities in the area. We value the friendships that we have made in the area and I will watch with interest how School District 85 continues to grow and serve with integrity and serious purpose.