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Sea to Sky school district names new superintendent

Kelowna director of instruction to take over from interim superintendent later this fall

The Sea to Sky school district has chosen a new superintendent for the corridor.

Lisa McCullough, director of instruction for Central Okanagan School district, will replace interim superintendent Dallas Cristofoli and former superintendent, Dr. Rick Erickson.

"We had a number of applicants, we got it down to a long list and in the end we interviewed two," said John Hetherington, secretary treasurer for the district (SD #48), which finalized its decision earlier this week and made the announcement at last Wednesday's board meeting in Whistler.

In her current position in Kelowna, McCullough supervises a total student population of 5,500. There are eight elementary, two middle, one secondary and one alternate school in her district, something she believes has prepared her for her new role in Sea to Sky.

"Career-wise I felt that it was time for me to take on a challenge like this, but it's not completely dissimilar," said McCullough. "The challenges will be attached to the things that increase the portfolio to include all the other jobs of the superintendent."

McCullough said the most comfortable piece of her new job, which overlaps with her current duties, relates to the instructional agenda. New duties will include the governance of the district schools, a role she will share with Hetherington.

Another important part of her job will include a sensitive approach to the First Nations agenda in Sea to Sky.

"The board and staff involved with the hiring were very sensitive to choosing somebody who had the aboriginal concerns at the forefront of their agenda and had experience with that work," she said. "Certainly that was a huge part of the hiring process."

McCullough was responsible for co-authoring the local education agreement with the West Bank First Nations Council in Kelowna, has managed language and cultural programs and currently chairs the human rights commission for the Okangan school district.

Having owned a family cabin in the Mount Currie area for a number of years, McCullough isn't a stranger to the corridor. She's glad that her children - a son currently attending Simon Fraser University, another son in Grade 10 and a daughter in Grade two - are looking forward to being immersed in whichever town they land.

"I'm not sure what community we'll be living in yet...but it will probably revolve around my son in Grade 10 - he's a high performing athlete in speed skating and he'll be looking at coaching and a really flexible school program so he can continue his training in Calgary at the long track oval. I suspect he'll want to be in Whistler for their athletic academy," she said.

Prior to her appointment to a District level position, McCullough was principal of Mount Boucherie Secondary School with a student population of 1,500 in Grades 10 to 12. While there, she received recognition for her work by being named a winner of Canada's Outstanding Principals' Award.

"Our whole family is really looking forward to being there," she said of her move to Sea to Sky. "As I put it to the board - because of our cabin it's just a land and a people that we've come to know and we've come to feel connected to and we're really excited to make it a full time part of our life."