Dear Wildflower School Families,
I hope you are all enjoying the last days of the winter holiday. I hope the holidays have provided you with important time together and opportunities for shared experiences in the Kootenay winter landscape or beyond.
My name is Sacha Kalabis and I am excited to introduce myself as the acting Principal of Wildflower School. I am honoured to join the Wildflower School staff from January to July of 2018. Wildflower School is known across the district for its dedication to excellence for all children, in a multi-age environment, whereby academic delivery is personalized and challenges students to achieve their personal best. In my time over the holidays, speaking with a few staff and parents, it is evident that central to Wildflower School is a deep commitment to the well-being, nurturing, and growth of each child within the school.
Over the past 15 years, I have worked as a teacher and administrator, but I consider my most important job to be that of a child advocate. I will spend a lot of time with your children, getting to know their personalities, learning styles, and interests. I will celebrate their successes, small and large. I will encourage them every day and let them know they are valued and have a special place in our school community. Not only am I excited to begin working with your children, but I look forward to the work we will do together. As the old African Proverb states, “It takes a village to raise a child.” I am excited to see your children through your eyes. I cannot wait to share with you the great things they do throughout their days here at Wildflower School. Of course, I will also be here to work with you should they need any help navigating any aspect of the school day. My goal is to ensure that all children are healthy, happy and safe, and hopefully inspired so they may learn as much as they can.
This has been my philosophy since I began my career teaching with the Victoria, BC school district where I taught for one year. I then moved on to teach at Island Pacific School, a private middle school located on Bowen Island, BC. This is an International Baccalaureate school known for its tight community orientation, drive to create independent thinkers within its students, connection of students with the surrounding community, and deep focus on cultivating in each of its students what it means to be a human in an ever-changing global landscape.
As influential as my earlier experiences were as an educator, the Kootenays always had an undeniable draw extending right back to my childhood growing up in Nelson, BC. For the past thirteen years, I have worked in a variety of schools in School District 8, primarily teaching math, science, physical education, and outdoor education to students in grades 5-12.
I also had the great opportunity to build and run three separate outdoor education programs (W.E. Graham, Mt. Sentinel, and Salmo Secondary) during my time in the district. Each of the programs were developed with the aim of creating a context which afforded the facilitator the ability to explore integrated, interdisciplinary, experiential, and place-based curriculum with students. Most recently, I have been the vice-principal of the Salmo Family of Schools for the past 4 years. In this role, I co-led the implementation of a number of school initiatives aimed at improving community and student engagement, elevating educational practices, and providing more flexible/personalized opportunities for the students of Salmo.
Perhaps my greatest achievement comes not professionally, but personally, as I am the Father of three children: Jiri (5), Kolya (3), and Bain (1.5). Wildflower School provides a new context for me and I know that there is much for me to learn as quickly as possible. While I am gaining knowledge about the place and its people, I am committed to supporting the staff, parents, and students through my work each day. Like my own children, I will work tirelessly to ensure all your children have the best possible experiences while at Wildflower School.
Once again, I am so thankful to have the opportunity to bring all that I have experienced and learned to your wonderful community. Similarly, I am excited to learn from this new opportunity and engage in new conversations around student learning and support with staff, parents, and students. I have been working over the holidays to try to inform myself of the Wildflower School context and get ahead of a few up and coming items at the school. Please stop by to say hello. The staff and I will be working closely together over the next few weeks preparing and planning for the staff retreat, on January 18-19, 2018, focused on next steps with regard to school growth, development, and visioning.
Wildflower School Principal