It didn’t take long for Myranda Shepherd to learn just what the new school meant to Bashaw.
Shepherd was selected in June to replace Craig Dimond as principal for Bashaw School and saw the importance the community places on the space when she attended the new building’s grand opening.
“What I saw and heard from listening to the speeches (that day), it was clear to me about the community support for this school and that’s the kind of commitment to education it should look like in this province,” Shepherd said.
“Nothing is more important than continuing with those community relationships since there is a benefit to us all.”
This is Shepherd’s first job as a principal during her 12 years in education. She spent the previous two years working with Alberta Education, where she assisted high schools in the central and southern regions implementing a redesigned program of instruction.
Prior to that, Shepherd was an assistant principal at William E. Hay Stettler Secondary Campus for seven years.
“For two years, I got to talk with hundreds of high school teams about their philosophy, which gave me a phenomenal grasp on education throughout this province,” she stated.
“Now, I’m excited to be able to hone and practice what I have learned. Coming from a composite school, the K to 12 atmosphere is something I wanted to be part of. What the staff do here on a daily basis provides lots of expertise and learning that can be shared.”
There were a few other advantages to coming to Bashaw for Shepherd.
“My husband and I have lived between Donalda and Forestburg for 10 years, so Bashaw is a bit like home for us. And, with having young children, it’s another advantage that I can bring them to school here,” she added.
“I’ve heard nothing by positives about the community and a rural area is where we’ve always wanted to raise our children and what we want to do. Plus, the strong support from this great community is important and I’m really happy to be here.”
Moving to a new school can be hard, but Shepherd is also joining a new district in the Battle River School Division, which has meant working out some challenges.
“The learning curve in coming to a new division has been steep. However, the staff have been so patient and being able to work with administration back in June has made the transition as smooth as possible,” she stated.
“Though I’m still learning things and we are getting through that, but things can only get better.”
One part that Shepherd admitted will take some time is figuring out names, especially of the students.
“There are only so many times you can say, ‘Hi kiddo,’” she chuckled.
And just like Shepherd’s work, portions of the school grounds remain a construction zone and will likely stay that way until the end of September.
“With that fact, and work still ongoing in the parking lot and for the buses, we will have increased supervision before, during and after school in order to keep the students and parents safe,” she added.