Erin Hay, former vice-principal of Fernie Secondary School (FSS) has been promoted to the position of principal for FSS and Kootenay Discovery School (KDS). Phil McLachlan/The Free Press/File

New administrators for Elk Valley schools

Erin Hay promoted to principal for FSS, Ian Jarrell promoted to vice-principal for ESS


School District 5

Two School District 5 employees in the Elk Valley have taken on new roles as leaders in the school system.

Ian Jarrell has been promoted from a teaching position to vice-principal for Elkford Secondary School (ESS) and Erin Hay, former vice-principal of Fernie Secondary School (FSS) has been promoted to the position of principal for FSS and Kootenay Discovery School (KDS), a distance-learning program. Replacing Hay as vice-principal is newcomer, Rachel Romero.

Jarrell, an Ottawa-native and District employee of 11 years, says he is excited to tackle his new leadership role as vice-principal at ESS.

“It’s been so enjoyable teaching students and watching them grow and learn as individuals. As vice-principal, I’m excited to work with teachers and support staff as we continue to embrace the newly revised curriculum, with its focus on individualized student learning,” he said.

In addition to his passion for education, Jarrell also enjoys coaching Junior and Senior Girls Basketball, as it allows him to interact with students and youth in an environment outside the classroom.

Erin Hay was born in Cranbrook and graduated from Mount Baker Secondary School (MBSS) in Cranbrook in 1990. She has been an educator for 22 years, 15 of which have been in SD5.

“I’m looking forward to the start of the school year; to greet new and returning students and to assist staff as they provide our students with a welcoming learning environment both in the classroom and outside in our community and our natural environment,” said Hay.

“I’m also very excited about the new opportunities for Kootenay Discovery School as it moves to its new home in the Kootenay Learning Campus.”

In her downtime, Hay and her family are avid winter skiers. In the summer, Hay and her family enjoy biking and camping and sea kayaking on B.C.’s west coast.

Romero, who will replace the vice-principal vacancy left by Hay, was born in Sparwood. She spent one year as a teacher’s assistant prior to working as a teacher, a position she has held for nine years. Romero previously worked in Vernon as a resource-based, and resource-room teacher.

Romero says she was drawn to SD5 in part because of the Kootenay Learning Campus, a new facility which opened in Fernie on Tuesday. It will provide learning opportunities for school-aged students in the Distance Learning Program and adult students wishing to complete their high school diploma.

“I get to be involved in the development of a program that supports both school-aged and adult-learners using a self-paced, distance learning approach. To be able to teach in such a flexible and personalized learning environment is so exciting!”

Romero, who was a middle distance runner for the track and field team while attending the University of Calgary (U of C), enjoys cross-country and distance running, as well as coaching these activities. She looks forward to being involved in these sports in Fernie.

Lento believes that Jarrell and Romero are a good fits for their respective new schools. “Each school has its own unique culture. This culture is taken into consideration whenever the Board appoints a new administrator to a school.” Lento adds that Hay has “naturally proven herself an excellent choice for principal” for FSS, during her tenure as vice-principal for the school.

For a list of Elk Valley principals and vice-principals for the 2019-2020 school year visit or contact the school in question directly.

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