Vancouver Association of Secondary School Administrators
Advocacy Committee Representative: Andrew Schofield, Magee Secondary
President and executive team: Tim McGeer (President); Sonja Blair (Secretary); Iqbal Gill (Treasurer); Kal Gill (Past President)
# of members in your organization: 62
Usual locations where members work: Secondary schools and alternative program administration
Key role of your organization in the District: To support, through professional development, mentorship, and member wellness support, and advocate for administrators in secondary schools and alternative programs.
As noted in our constitution, the purposes of the society are:
- To promote the professional wellbeing and leadership of our members.
- To develop processes and practices that support effective educational leadership and management.
- To provide and support Professional Development of the members.
- To act in all matters which are in interest or concern to members.
- To advocate for and represent members in all matters pertaining to the association.
- To affiliate with other professional organizations to the benefit of the members.
Specifically, why are “Vancouver” public schools a great place to teach, work, go to school and be a part of? By law, Vancouver public schools represent the values of Canada and British Columbia. These values are captured in the Constitution and focus on respect for diversity, anti-racism and anti-discrimination. We have the legal and moral mandate to advance these values in our community, along with our teacher, support worker and custodian colleagues. Vancouver public schools strive to keep students and families at the top of the agenda, with student learning and health in mind. What a fantastic mandate to implement!
Why is Public education important? In public education everyone is welcome, and it is our desire and duty to continually reflect upon our practice such that public schools become more inclusive, more welcoming and more effective for all our students and families, regardless of race, background or economic status.
Why is your organization an integral part of the public education system? VASSA represents secondary administrators and references the mandated position of members. As administrators we are a critical relational link between a school community (including not only professional staff but also parents and students) and district leadership, a link that complements those provided by other representative organizations in the district.
How has your organization connected positively with the local neighbourhood? As an organization, in addition to supporting district community initiatives (like the annual United Way drive), we also have several group events in the community (such as joining the Union Gospel Mission during the winter break to serve Christmas dinners to the homeless). Beyond this, as an organization we have participated in community events like the annual Pride Parade, Reconciliation marches, and the Climate Strike march in 2019. Lastly, our membership is actively involved in various community social justice and anti-racism initiatives.
What is one example of advancing student success that you’re proud about? Share one story of an important positive event that your organization has helped the community (could be as an individual member, as a group or as an association) that advances student success.
VASSA general scholarships support marginalized students by enlarging their circle of connections and resources (personnel and financial) such that students can connect and engage. More generally, in our routine administrative work members may intervene in a child’s life by rescuing them from dangerous or challenging circumstances, connecting them with counsellors, programs, police and/or government resources so that a student in need can address mental illness, addiction, violence or exploitation. In these ways we support students and families without judgement as they navigate troubled times in their lives. These interventions are by nature discrete and confidential.