John Blain has been appointed as acting superintendent/CEO of the Nanaimo-Ladysmith School District while the school board looks to permanently fill the vacant superintendent position.
The superintendent position became vacant after it was announced Jan. 5 that David Hutchinson resigned and is “moving on to pursue other opportunities.”
Blain, who was the deputy superintendent for the district, was appointed acting superintendent/CEO at a Jan. 7 board meeting. Blain, who was a principal at Ladysmith Secondary School and at Dover Bay Secondary School before taking a senior leadership role in the district, has 32 years of experience as an educator in the B.C. public school system, including 18 years as an administrative officer.
In announcing Hutchinson’s resignation, school board chairman Steve Rae said last week that the search for a new superintendent would begin immediately.
Rae said the board will discuss how it will go about conducting the search, and the goal is to select the right candidate. He is hoping Blain will apply for the position permanently.
“We’re going to make sure we get the right person, and we feel comfortable with John as the acting [superintendent] for however long it takes to find the right person for the job, and it may very well be John,” said Rae. “I hope he puts his hat in the ring.”
Rae said the board was thankful for Hutchinson’s efforts the past three years and wished him the best. He admitted to being surprised by the announcement and said he talked at length to Hutchinson after he and new school board trustees were voted in after November’s municipal election.
Hutchinson and the previous board received criticism for the controversial 10-year facilities plan, which saw a number of school closures.
“Whether or not he was going to stay or go really hadn’t even entered my mind to be honest with you,” said Rae. “We’re just trying to get our feet wet. I talked to Dave right after the election. We had a long talk about where we saw ourselves going in the future and it was very positive.”
The Nanaimo News Bulletin attempted to reach Hutchinson for comment but he has not immediately responded.
Rae said he couldn’t comment on whether there would be a severance package for Hutchinson.
“That’s a personnel issue that we’re not going to discuss publicly,” said Rae. “It’s confidential.”
Lindsay Chung and Karl Yu