Alan Stel, principal at Clearwater Secondary School for the past five years, is leaving to take over as principal of Penticton Secondary School.
“It will be a challenge,” he said. “Here I’ve had maybe 200 or 300 students to manage. At Pen High, there could be that many in one class (the total student population at Penticton Secondary is about 1,300, plus 100 staff, including 70 teachers and two vice-principals).
“On the other hand, the last few years here I’ve been feeling comfortable. Maybe it’s time for a challenge.”
Stel will start as principal at Penticton Secondary on Aug. 1. He has not yet signed his contract with the new school district and his present position as principal at CSS won’t be advertised until he does.
“I expect this will attract some excellent candidates,” he said. “It’s a very good school in a very progressive school district. Clearwater has been a great place to work and to live.”
He noted that Kamloops-Thompson School District 73 had given him a good deal of autonomy.
“They’ve always been very supportive. There’s been no hesitation about supplying money, manpower or other resources. The district has always been very generous with the North Thompson,” he said.
Stel was proud that the school’s average mark on provincial Grade 10 math and English exams was four to five per cent above the provincial and school district average.
He also was proud that the school’s multi-course failure rate had dropped to around four per cent, compared the typical 15 per cent.
“I can’t take any ownership for it, but I’m proud to have been a part of it,” said Stel.
Moving to Penticton will not be a great change for Stel and his family.
Prior to joining the staff at Clearwater Secondary, he was vice-principal at South Okanagan Secondary School for a year and at Similkameen Elementary Secondary School for four years.
Stel started his career 11 years earlier, teaching English at SESS for a decade and Alternate Education in School District No. 16 (Keremeos) for a year.
Stel has a Master of Education in Curriculum and Leadership from Gonzaga State University and completed both a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, with a sociology minor and the Professional Development Program, specializing in elementary (intermediate) education while studying at the University of British Columbia.
Stel will take over from Bill Bidlake, who has been principal at Pen High since the rebuilt school opened in 2008.