Home Education Westshore - SD62 New SD62 superintendent Paul Block is building partnerships

New SD62 superintendent Paul Block is building partnerships

Positive working relationships are key to school district success.

paul block, sd62
Attending the provincial announcement about a third SD62 high school for the west shore, on May 21, 2024 in Langford, from left: Langford Councillor Keith Yacucha, Langford Mayor Scott Goodmanson, Langford Councillor Lillian Szpak, SD62 Superintendent Paul Block, Langford Councillor Kimberley Guiry. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

Wednesday May 22, 2024 | LANGFORD, BC [Updated 10:10 am]

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

Long-time education administrator Paul Block became Superintendent of the Sooke School District 62 (SD62) back on new year’s day 2024.

paul block, sd62, superintendent
SD62 Superintendent Paul Block at the announcement about a third high school being planned for Langford, May 21, 2024. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

Now just after Victoria Day weekend, he sees evident progress of the collaborative approach taken by SD62 leadership over the past several years.

Block attended the provincial announcement by two MLAs yesterday to announce the business plan phase for a third high school in the west shore area (the fourth for SD62 overall).

Held on a school construction site in the rain of a cool spring rain, the announcement by MLA Ravi Parmar and MLA Mitzi Dean also included SD62 Board Chair Amanda Dowhy, but did not bring Block to the podium.

amanda dowhy, mitzi dean, ravi parmar
Announcing the business plan phase for a new SD62 high school in Langford, on May 21, 2024 on an elementary school construction site (from left): SD62 School Board Chair Amanda Dowhy, Minister of State for Child Care Mitzi Dean, and Parliamentary Secretary for International Credentials Ravi Parmar. [Mary P Brooke / Island Social Trends]

That format without Block at the podium was a statement of who is in charge and where the money will be expected to come from, but also Block’s confidence in how the limelight works. The approach is that Parmar is the SD62 key into the lockset of the education ministry budget for constant attention to the needs of SD62 in the fast-growing west shore region of Greater Victoria.

Moving forward in 2024:

“The biggest success is that the school district hasn’t missed a beat since Scott Stinson retired,” Paul Block told Island Social Trends yesterday without missing a beat in emphasizing the team approach of SD62 administration.

Stinson was the former superintendent, retiring in December 2023 after five years with Block as Associate Superintendent and then Deputy Superintendent.

scott stinson, paul block
SD62 Superintendent Scott Stinson (left) and Deputy Superintendent Paul Block at the SD62 public board meeting on May 23, 2023. [IST composite]

In these first few months as superintendent Block says “we’ve had challenges or opportunities … on the capital side of things but also in terms of meeting our community’s needs and their wants”.

He mentioned having to deal with “student walkouts and protests coming forward” in his first few months on the job. But then turned his commentary to the work ahead.

district of metchosin

Block said yesterday that the high school business plan announcement is evidence of “the board and the senior executive team working very well together to advocate for the Ministry to meet those needs on the capital side”.

“On the other side we work very hard with our parents to build confidence around the work that we’re doing to support students in our schools and make sure everyone’s safe,” said Block.

monk office, ten percent

“That along with making all of our partnerships staying tight and strong and productive is probably the best part” of the first phase of his work as superintendent, Block told Island Social Trends yesterday.

No doubt the many facets of dealing with continued robust population growth is integral to all of Block’s decision-making in guiding the executive and the board. As the targeted housing growth area (as part of the Capital Regional District’s regional growth strategy), the west shore and Sooke have seen continued new housing since about 2010.

Building more partnerships:

Block said his biggest surprise in these first few months as Superintendent is “the volume of people that want in partnership with the school district and move in a positive direction”.

“So we’re just trying to balance all of that with the workload of the daily operations of the school district as well,” said Block.

dumont tirecraft, sooke

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Island Social Trends Editor Mary P Brooke

Island Social Trends Editor Mary P Brooke attended nearly every Sooke School District (SD62) board and committee meeting from 2014 to 2022 for an in-depth understanding of the workings of public education in the west shore.

Mary Brooke has four grown children who attended schools in SD61 and SD62. She ran for SD62 school trustee in 2022 to highlight the public education concerns of parents and families.

Previous to launching Island Social Trends online at IslandSocialTrends.ca in 2020 Ms Brooke published MapleLine Magazine (quarterly 2008-2010), Sooke Voice News (weekly 2011-2013) and West Shore Voice News (weekly 2014-2020). Those print publications are permanently archived at the Sooke Region Museum.

Since covering COVID daily in 2020-2022 Ms Brooke has reported alongside the BC Legislative Press Gallery.

In 2023 Mary P Brooke was nominated for a Jack Webster Foundation award recognizing her contribution to community through professional journalism.

In 2024, Ms Brooke has launched Urban Food Resilience Initiatives Society which provides advocacy to municipalities for food-growing in urban communities.