Roy McLean spent his professional career as an educator, working as a teacher, an administrator and finishing as a superintendent in School District 5 (SD5). He has written a book on his experience and career titled School Superintendent as an Educational Leader: Fact or Fiction? focusing on the amalgamation of School District 1 and School District 2 into SD5.
“It’s an autobiography. I’ve lived here 34 years. I was the high school principal here, and then we amalgamated in 1996 with the Cranbrook school district, and then I became the superintendent of that school district, which is now District 5 – Southeast Kootenay,” McLean said. “The main focus is about amalgamation – what we went through administratively, philosophically and educationally to become amalgamated into one district, because we were unique districts up until 1996.”
On Sept. 9, McLean presented Bill Johnson, principal of Fernie Secondary School, with a copy of the book. Chair of the local school board Frank Lento was at the presentation, and says he is excited to read the book.
“Roy has been an unbelievable guy in this community,” Lento said, “He’s just a class individual and I can’t wait to get the book and start reading it.”
All of the proceeds from book sales are funneled into a scholarship fund in honour of McLean’s son Spencer, who passed away at the age of 36. Spencer was a graduate of Fernie Secondary School and became a doctor just before his passing. The scholarship is awarded to students from Fernie Secondary School that are pursuing a post-secondary education in healthcare.
Lento remembers Spencer McLean as a smart and dedicated student. “We were doing visionary things for the school and I think Spence was about Grade 11 or 12 at the time, and I was a principal of the school,” Lento said. “It was stuck in my mind, about his visionary statement about what we should be as a school district, and it stuck in my mind to this day: we should be the best at doing the most for students.”
Lento says that he has incorporated that philosophy into his teaching and still uses it in his career.
McLean retired from the superintendent position in 2003, and received his doctorate in education. He started writing the book in 2009, which took him roughly five years to complete. “The book, throughout, challenged the reader to formulate a response t the compelling question related to a superintendent of schools being an educational leader,” said McLean.
The book was printed by Claris Media, and is available at Polar Peek Books and Treasures.