Nanaimo school district loses principal of aboriginal education

Anne Tenning takes position with North Okanagan-Shuswap school district

Anne Tenning, district principal of aboriginal education, is leaving Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools for a new job. FILE PHOTO

Nanaimo’s new principal of aboriginal education is leaving the school district.

Anne Tenning, who was recently promoted to principal of aboriginal education in Nanaimo-Ladysmith Public Schools, has taken a job with North Okanagan-Shuswap school district as the new district principal of indigenous education and curriculum.

Tenning, from the Stz’uminus First Nation, has helped lead the aboriginal education department since her appointment as vice-principal of aboriginal education in 2015.

There’s a new focus on reconciliation as a school board goal and within the Truth and Reconciliation Commission calls to action, and Tenning has been involved in helping trustees and district staff navigate what that means in the context of a public school system.

She also helped organize the inaugural indigenous language symposium earlier this year and led an equity scan project —one of the things she’s most proud of. The scan involves finding equities and inequities for students of aboriginal ancestry in the public school system and addressing the inequities to help the students be as successful as possible.

Tenning said she’s also proud of the growth that’s happened in the district with indigenous language revitalization, increasing the number of teaching staff and schools that receive Hul’qumi’num language instruction.

“We know we’re far from perfect, but the momentum is going in the right direction,” said Tenning about aboriginal education. “We’ve got such good things happening in aboriginal education across the district and I feel like the next person coming in is going to be able to carry this momentum to take us to the next level.”

Tenning said it’s mostly for personal reasons that she’s relocating to the Okanagan.

“This has been an incredible district to be a part of. There’s so many exceptionally talented people who work here in community and in the district,” she said. “I am sad to be leaving so many friends, family and colleagues but I know that this will always be home to me, my family’s from here and it’ll be a place that I continue to return to often.”

Her last day with the district is still to be determined.

A school district official was not available for comment, but in a district staffing announcement, superintendent Scott Saywell said Tenning has been “integral with the recent successes in our aboriginal education programs and community partnerships” and will be sorely missed.

“We wish her the very best as she transitions to a similar role in SD83.”

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