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East Three School principal waves goodbye after five years
Outgoing administrator hopes sense of unity stays

Stewart Burnett
Northern News Services
Thursday, June 29, 2017

The always energetic Deborah Reid wants students to think of East Three School like they think of their favourite sports team.

 NNSL photograph

Deborah Reid is waving farewell to Inuvik and East Three School. Reid has been with the school since it opened five years ago and served the last three years as principal. - Stewart Burnett/NNSL photo

"I want them to feel like it's part of them," said Reid, who has been with East Three since it formed five years ago and spent the last three years as principal. "Being a wolf or being an eagle (school mascots), I want them to feel like they're missing out if they're not here."

Creating a brand for the school was her way to boost attendance, increase loyalty and perhaps improve some of the student body's opinion of government school, considering the history in the region. She wanted students to not miss a day "just like you wouldn't want to miss your favourite hockey team play."

Signage, banners, T-shirts, school colours and slogans were all designed to achieve that goal.

When Reid came to East Three, the elementary and secondary schools were still very much separate entities, though housed in one building.

"There wasn't a huge sense of unity for East Three as a K-12 school," she recalls. "It was two separate schools."

One of her goals was to bring the two sides together, not only to aid administrative duties and information sharing but to unify the student population as well.

Next school year, the schools will be divided again, at least in terms of each having a separate principal with no one person overlooking both sides.

"I'm truly hoping that feeling will still remain and that the integrity of that philosophy continues," said Reid.

"Students, as they move from Grade 6 to Grade 7, having it feel like one school, where they know some of the teaches and they know what it looks like to go over to the secondary side, it breaks down any fear about moving to a new grade."

Any way to reduce stress and fear for studies will help and allow them to concentrate on their studies, she said. With separate principals next year, East Three staff will have to consciously work to achieve that sense of unity.

"They'll have to be more conscious of that," said Reid.

"When you have one principal who knows what's going on, on both sides, unconsciously you get connections. Having the two separate people, unless you make a conscious effort, you won't necessarily know what's happening on the other side."

Secondary school vice-principal Lorne Guy is also leaving town this summer. Elementary school vice-principal Chauna MacNeil is the last of the administrative staff standing.

Gene Jenks is coming in as principal on the secondary side with Matthew Miller as vice-principal. Elizabeth Catherine McNeil will be coming in as principal on the elementary side.

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