MAPLE RIDGE – It’s not the choice he’d have made, but Mike Deighton will be making his exit from North Dundas District High School (NDDHS) at semester’s end.
Deighton is one of countless principal and vice-principal swaps taking place ahead of the September start of the next school year.
He is destined for Laggan Public School in Dalkeith, nearing the borderline between North Glengarry and Champlain Township, and not far from the provincial crossing into Quebec.
In a sense, it’s a step-up for Deighton, who will become principal. But in another, his loss as NDDHS’ vice-principal will be felt.
“It’s going to be really, really difficult [to leave here],” Deighton told the Winchester Press. “I work with people who taught me, and I worked with them as a colleague and we have really developed a special relationship. What makes North Dundas an amazing school is the amount of care and the amount of investment that the staff has in the place. People here go above and beyond what you will see at almost any other school,” said Deighton
Heading for Laggan will be an adjustment for Deighton, whose career has largely circled around NDDHS. He was a teacher there from 2003 to 2013, before being moved to TR Leger’s Cornwall campus for one year, and then landing at Winchester Public School as vice-principal from 2014 to 2015. Since then, he’s been the second in command at the Maple Ridge-based secondary school.
“[Going to Laggan] is going to be a challenge and a lot of hard work. My career has been interesting because I’ve spent a lot of time at North Dundas, so I have a lot of familiarity with this school… I think that really helps me out in terms of doing my job,” he said. “Now I’m going to a completely new area of the board, where I don’t have any connections and I don’t really know any of the families, in fact I don’t really know the staff. That’s going to be the biggest challenge, and making sure that we’re improving. That’s the name of the game in education.”
Susan Rutters, current principal at Russell High School will move into the same role at Winchester Public School, while Peter Onstein, principal at Rothwell-Osnabruck Elementary will replace Rutters in Russell.
Meanwhile, Laurie McElheran who has been in the principal position at the Winchester school for the last few years is set to retire.
Simon Bartsch, an external candidate, will replace Deighton as vice-principal at NDDHS.
At Iroquois Public School, Jill Pensa is transferring in as principal from her current post at South Branch Elementary School in Kemptville, which has Sarita Anderson leaving the Iroquois school for Rothwell-Osnabruck in Ingleside. Candy Campbell, meanwhile, will take over as acting vice-principal at Iroquois Public.
Finally, longtime Seaway District High School principal Don Lewis is being jettisoned to a role with the school board, becoming principal of safe schools: equity and inclusivity.
His replacement will be Anne-Marie Bulbeck, who transfers from a school board role as principal of teaching and learning.