by Stephen Dafoe
After five years of being principal of Morinville Community High School, Todd Eistetter will say farewell to the school, staff, and students June 30. Eistetter has accepted a position with Edmonton Catholic Schools to become the principal of John Paul I Catholic School, an elementary on the south side of Edmonton.
Eistetter has worked at both high school and elementary levels several times over his long career and said there are both pros and challenges to both levels of schooling.
“The high school I’ve enjoyed because of all the different programs and initiatives that are part of high school and this age group,” he said, adding watching students excel in academics, theatre, music, and sports has been enjoyable. “Leaving high school is going to be difficult for me.”
Eistetter said he was looking forward to the opportunities and challenges of elementary education once again.
“It is more working with individual students and their families than perhaps at the high school level, and I am looking forward to the change and getting reacquainted with that age group, curriculum, programming, and the needs that are evident. I have to keep myself sharp, and I think that is one way to try and do it.”
Though Esitetter felt the time for a change had come, and he is looking forward to the closest school posting to his home in more than two decades, he said he has thoroughly enjoyed his time at MCHS.
“I’ve really liked the opportunity to get involved with the connections we’ve made with all the different people and organizations in the community,” he said. “I think that is critical to any school but especially to a high school.”
Eistetter said he appreciated partnerships with the Lions Club, the Knights of Columbus, the Catholic Women’s League, Champion Petfoods and other businesses and community members who have sponsored scholarships or provided resources like the cultural centre.
Eistetter’s legacy after a half-decade of service is a school he believes is ready to accept any challenge.
“I think the school is very well prepared. We’re in a good position,” he said. “I think we’ve got a good relationship with the community and with the parents. I think there are many different things that have happened here in the last four or five years that are very positive, and my successor has the opportunity to take this and continue growing, possibly in different directions that they see as being reasonable and relevant.”
Developing school pride has been something important to Eistetter and his staff during his time at the school. Teachers and staff that want to be there have had a significant impact on the students, resulting in their seeing, feeling and being part of the school.
“I think part of it is believing in yourself, and believing in what you are doing and what you represent,” Eistetter said. “The school is what we represent, and it’s very much a collective. It’s very much a collective, a team event. There are so many things going on; it’s not one person, it is a collective. The more people that you bring into the picture, the more people who are willing to participate, the better things that will happen. That’s what makes a school successful.”
The veteran educator had nothing but good things to say about the school, it’s staff, students, and families, and said when he came to MCHS five years ago, they looked at what the school had been and what it could become.
“We realized that this was the gem nobody knew about,” he recalled. “There were so many things happening here and had happened here that were so positive. But people just didn’t know. People in the community and beyond the community just hadn’t heard. Part of it is taking that pride in the school and telling people – this is what’s possible now. How we as a school connect with the community is critical, and how the community connects with the school is critical. They have to go hand in hand.”
Parent Council Chair Mel Christoffersen and co-chair Sheri Belland said they were sad to see Eistetter leaving the school and the Division.
“Todd Eistetter will be greatly missed in our community,” they wrote in a letter to Morinville News. ” We would like to wish him the very best in his future endeavours.”