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VSB announces new director of of instruction - Indigenous education

VSB announces new director of of instruction - Indigenous Education

The Vancouver School District is very pleased to share the news that Chas Desjarlais has accepted the newly created role of director of instruction – Indigenous education.

Chas is a citizen of the Cold Lake First Nations and a Treaty six iskwew, who has been a guest on these lands since 1995. She is known for her unwavering commitment to excellence in Indigenous education, knowledge of best practices in Indigenous learning and a deep understanding of Indigenous histories, cultures, traditions and communities. With her extensive experience working with Indigenous students, families and communities, she has led the Indigenous education department through numerous educational and cultural initiatives with a common focus of collective responsibility. She has also worked closely with the three Host Nations, xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, including establishing an Indigenous Education Council.

In January of this year, Chas graciously answered the call to provide interim leadership as acting director of instruction for Indigenous education. Throughout the ensuing months, she was integral in furthering the shaping of a permanent position, as well as providing cross-District leadership as we walk alongside together on the path of reconciliation. Her expertise, knowledge and willingness to share her teachings will continue to help guide us forward as we work to support all learners in their personal journeys. Chas has worked for the District since 1999. During this time, she has held the roles of classroom teacher, Indigenous education teacher, Indigenous education consultant, and District vice-principal, Indigenous education, and District principal, Indigenous education.

In addition to her considerable accomplishments and contributions to VSB, she is a mother, auntie, wife, friend, mentor and matriarch in the making, as well as avid hockey player! Chas also holds a Master of Education – Indigenous Knowledges & Pedagogies and is pursuing a Doctorate – Education and Policy.

“As a learning organization, we recognize that Indigenous voices and perspectives are paramount to guide us in our collective work and to develop this vital role and portfolio,” said Helen McGregor, superintendent.  “Our deepest appreciation to the members of xwməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, for their guidance and support in developing this new senior leader portfolio and throughout the recruitment process. We lift our hands to you in gratitude and look forward to our continued partnership.”

Please join us in welcoming Chas into her new role as director of instruction-Indigenous education.

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