Greater Victoria schools ‘super’ will leave positive legacy

John Gaiptman oversaw improved graduation rates, middle school transition

Greater Victoria School District superintendent of schools and CEO John Gaiptman is retiring Feb. 14 after 12 years on the job.

In that time he led the district through numerous changes, including closing schools to combat declining enrolment and implementing the middle school system. He also helped develop a district-wide approach to improve Dogwood completion rates.

Since 2008, the graduation rate for all students in the Greater Victoria School District has increased by 13.7 per cent while the aboriginal graduation rate has improved by 14.4 per cent.

“I came into this role in 2002 with a goal of being part of a team that would make significant improvements in literacy, numeracy, aboriginal education and graduation rates,” Gaiptman said in a release. “I retire with the knowledge that the necessary initiatives and programs have been implemented and are proving to be successful.”

Peg Orcherton, chair of the Greater Victoria Board of Education, said the board will miss Gaiptman’s “passion for education.”

“He has been a motivator, a communicator and a strong advocate for students and public education. He was tireless in his support for the music programs,” Orcherton said.

Gaiptman was hired by the district in 1993 and served as principal of Lambrick Park secondary in Gordon Head for five years. He spent four years in various roles at the board office before becoming superintendent.

“I have always said that I would choose my retirement date based upon the needs of the district,” he said. “I believe that I leave the Greater Victoria School District with the necessary momentum, strategies and structures in place to continue to excel. Although I am retiring from the Greater Victoria School District, I am going to continue to work for public education.”

Deputy superintendent Sherri Bell will take over the job on an interim basis until a permanent replacement is hired. Hired by the district in 1996, she has experience as a principal, worked at the Ministry of Education and taught at the university level. Bell has worked in senior administration with the district since 2001 and was named deputy superintendent in 2012.

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