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Anglophone West superintendent explains why he's taking pay cut, principal's job

The superintendent of the Anglophone West School District says his decision to take a pay cut and a two-year leave from the job is about reconnecting with students and teachers at a school level.

David McTimoney is going to be acting principal at Summerhill Street Elementary School in Oromocto starting this August.

The district announced the job change last week.

On Tuesday, McTimoney confirmed it was his own choice to ask for the leave. He competed for the Oromocto job through the district, which brought in an outside group for the hiring proces.

Now he's excited to work "directly with kids, working directly with teachers," he said.

"This will be an opportunity for me to ... read with them, to do math with them, to work with teachers, to try to set up a setting in the school where teachers can do their jobs."

Working through amalgamation

Anglophone West district consists of 69 schools in the Fredericton, Oromocto, Woodstock and Edmundston areas.

McTimoney worked as a superintendent in the province for seven years, the last five with Anglophone West, which was created as part of a greater amalgamation of three districts in 2012.

He said the job had its challenges and, at times, came with difficult decisions related to personnel, facilities and financial questions.

David McTimoney group of co-workers, goodbyes

McTimoney's co-workers attended an interview Tuesday to show their support for the soon-to-be former superintendent. McTimoney says he'll miss his team. (Catherine Harrop/CBC)

With 23,000 students, "that's big, it takes some energy, it takes time and it takes dedication," he said. 

"I would hope that people would recognize that we focused on student learning, that we focused on building relationships, that we focused on improving achievements for kids along the way."

McTimoney said another challenge was accommodating the large number of Syrian refugee children  who began entering the school system in late 2016.

Creating a setting for about 200 new children in a short span of time required "some tweaks along the way," but "I found it to be quite rewarding," he said.

Will assess career later

He added that he'll miss his team and is "very proud of the accomplishments of Anglophone West."

He'll work in his new position for two years, then reassess whether he'll return to the district as superintendent, remain a principal or do something else, he said.

While he'll miss visiting the different schools and working with principals and colleagues to solve problems, he's excited to focus on education at Summerhill, he said.

"I think it will allow me to reflect on decisions that have been made and to also live those decisions on a day-to-day basis on a school level," he said.

Published by CBC