Students returning to classes at Lake Cowichan School this week will notice at least one unfamiliar face in the corridors: their new principal.
Jaime Doyle is taking on the role of LCS school principal replacing Nicole Boucher who is now the principal of Cowichan Secondary School’s Quamichan Campus.
Doyle confirmed there is nothing temporary about this changeover.
“I’m here for a while,” he said. “As long as I don’t hit a bear on the highway, I’m OK. Or an elk.”
That sense of humour is an important part of Doyle’s personal and professional philosophy when it comes to being a school administrator.
“I believe school has to be a fun place. If kids are having fun then they’re doing the learning as well,” he said. “I like lots of fun. Lots of laughter and humour.”
Originally from Delta, Doyle spent two years as a teacher in Surrey before transitioning into administration, which he’s been doing ever since. He’s been in the Cowichan Valley for the last 10 years, working at Frances Kelsey Secondary School, École Mount Prevost and Cowichan Secondary School (Quamichan Campus). He was the principal at Prevost and Cowichan Secondary’s Quamichan campus.
It’s a big shift going from the largest school in the district to one of the smallest, but this difference is precisely what Doyle is looking for.
“One of the reasons I wanted to come here is I missed the aspect of knowing every kid,” he said.
Cowichan Secondary has approximately 1,600 students, which Doyle said made it impossible for him to truly get to know more than just a handful of kids. At his previous schools, which were closer in size to LCS, he could get to know every kid, every family. He described that as a comfort zone, knowing the “ins and outs” of the student body and hopefully having the ability to help out if anyone is in need.
“Or at least see everyone as an individual,” he said. “Whereas in the larger schools you’re dealing with a lot of paper and a lot of bureaucracy. Here you’re dealing with a lot of people and kids.”
Doyle is no stranger to Lake Cowichan and certainly not to the Cowichan Lake Sports Arena, having coached his sons’ hockey teams and spent plenty of time at the Lake for tournaments.
For parents, Doyle said he wants them to know he has an open door policy and he encourages anyone to come by at any time to meet with him. Even for community members who don’t have kids, he wants everyone in town to feel free to drop in and speak with him about their families, about life at the lake, anything.
“I like to listen,” he said.
Doyle said he has big plans for this coming school year, but nothing he’s ready to speak about publicly quite yet. Vice-principal Brent Zimmer had high praise for his new colleague.
“Certainly we’re sad to see Nicole go,” Zimmer said. “But Jaime comes with a reputation as an innovative thinker and a guy who puts kids first.”