UNITY — After two years under the leadership of principal Kelvin Colliar, who arrived in August of 2020 after Tyson Volk relocated to division office, a new principal will be part of St. Peter’s elementary school in the fall of 2022.
Deanna Emond will be taking over the principal’s chair.
Emond tells the Press-Herald / SASKTODAY.ca, “My husband, Bruno, and I are extremely excited to join St. Peter's School and the Unity community. We had the pleasure of visiting the school at the beginning of April, where we were graciously received by Kelvin Colliar, the staff and the students at St. Peter's.”
Emond has a wide variety of career experiences on her resumé that include serving, for the past seven years, as an elementary principal at Yangon International School in Myanmar.
“In March 2020, at the onset of the pandemic, we moved to Prince Albert where we began working remotely for our school from our acreage just outside of town. In April this year, I was able to return to Yangon, where I am currently wrapping up the school year and bringing closure to my time in Myanmar," says Emond.
The first teaching position for the incoming St. Peter’s principal was in 1992 at O’Chiese First Nation School in Rocky Mountain House, Alta. Emond’s husband, who is also a teacher, worked in Ardrossan, Alta. After two years of working apart, the duo decided to continue their education careers aboard and for the next 25 years, they worked at international schools in Pakistan, Venezuela, Senegal, Nigeria and Myanmar.
Emond has served as an elementary school principal for the past 12 years. She says the highlight of her educational career to date has not been one single event or accomplishment, rather it comes from the relationships that she has built with students, staff and parents working together for the children to ensure their success. She says she likes to stay connected with former families and colleagues she has worked with and says it is gratifying to see what they are accomplishing with their lives.
“I consider myself a lifelong learner and am always trying to grow personally and professionally. After completing my bachelor’s degree at the University of Alberta, I went on to complete two master’s degrees, the first in international education and the second in educational leadership. I am also trained as a cognitive coach and a critical friend’s coach.”
Asked what attracted her to St. Peter’s School, Emond responds, “I have always sought out schools that have a strong 'family-like' culture and maintain a focus on the development and well-being of the whole child. St. Peter’s School attracted me because from what I could see, it offered that same ethos. The vision of St. Peter’s School resonated with me, as did the strength-based focus of the school and district. We also researched Unity and appreciated the strong, positive community atmosphere.”
Emond said after her pleasant visit at St. Peter’s in April, her hope is to continue to deepen her partnership with parents and the community. The couple will move to Unity over the summer and have purchased an acreage five minutes outside of town and are looking forward to becoming active members of the community.
In her spare time, Emond says she loves to play with and train her dogs, Nova, a Pyrenees/Bernese, and Kosmo, a white English lab. She also loves gardening and golfing and they are looking forward to getting some rounds in over the summer at the Unity Golf Club.
“I began my principalship with a two-year vision to get the students, staff, and parents safely through to the other side of the COVID pandemic," says Colliar .
"As a school community we wanted to give our students a meaningful school experience that supported their academic, spiritual, emotional and physical well-being. Looking at our school data that focusses on student achievement levels (reading, writing and math), faith outcomes, mental health and well-being outcomes we have reached the other side of the pandemic with positive results for our students."
Colliar says he will miss the entire St. Peter’s School community.
“When I retired from my superintendent position in 2017, I looked after seven schools dealing with school operations and staffing. Although I enjoyed that job it certainly was not what I absolutely loved about my 34-year educational journey. It was a job not a vocation. My principalship at St. Peter's has allowed me to return to and finish my career in an environment that I absolutely love. Thank you, St. Peters School, and the town of Unity, for making my two-year journey so rewarding.”