by Jennifer Lavallee
Morinville News Correspondent
Sturgeon School Division (SSD) has an extensive list of things to complete before it can welcome students into Morinville’s newest junior high school. Recently, the Division checked off an important item on their lengthy to-do list: hire a principal.
SSD announced, on April 18, the appointment of Jonathan Konrad as Principal of the (currently unnamed) school. Konrad has been an educator for over two decades. Currently, he is the Principal of Sturgeon Heights School in neighbouring St. Albert.
“I’m very excited to be coming to Morinville,” said Konrad in an interview. “I’m looking forward to connecting with the community and with the people there.”
The opportunity to be part of a school from the ground up is not one that presents itself every day, noted the Principal. It was a major factor in his interest in the position; “I had to go for it,” he remarked.
Before Konrad was the Principal at Sturgeon Heights (a K-9 School), he was a high school biology and general science teacher for ten years in the Grand Prairie area. Later he moved into a coaching role, advising fellow teachers and school division staff how to best implement new technologies in the classroom.
From there, Konrad relocated to St. Paul, Alberta and began his first experience as a school Principal. “It was a privilege to work there,” he reminisced. “It was such a vibrant school in a smaller community.”
The Principal said he anticipates similarities between his experience in St. Paul and what he envisions in Morinville.
This time around, however, he will get the chance to influence the design of the school he will be leading. Konrad wants modern-day teaching considerations to be incorporated into the building, which he said will benefit the students and the whole community.
“Older schools were built as institutions,” he explained, “…and sometimes those building designs (which can be segmented or in grid-like layouts) don’t make sense with how we want to approach education today.”
Konrad spoke about modern-day concepts for learning environments and mentioned the importance of natural light and open spaces, students being able to connect with each other and with the environment.
Konrad said he will be staying on as Principal at Sturgeon Heights until the new school in Morinville is ready to open. SSD, he said, will be providing additional support at Sturgeon Heights so he can manage his responsibilities related to the new school in Morinville at the same time.
A visit to the school council at Morinville Public School is one of Konrad’s next tasks at hand. He said he intends to keep in close contact with the community throughout the design and construction phase of the new school.
SSD indicated to the Morinville News that the school project is expected to go to tender this August. The building is presently in a design phase.
“We are very pleased to have Mr. Jonathan Konrad on board as the Principal of the new school…His ongoing input and assistance with critical educational decisions will help us to ensure the new school is perfectly positioned to meet the needs of the students it will serve,” said Dr. Michele Dick, SSD Superintendent on April 28.