The Greater Victoria School District’s new superintendent wants the public to know he’s here to stay.
Pieter Langstraat was appointed the superintendent earlier this month and will assume his role next month.
“I’m thrilled. I was just looking for another opportunity,” Langstraat said. “The Greater Victoria School District was the only place that I applied to. I was really wanting to come to the school district so I’m very pleased to be able to work with them.”
Langstraat, 54, comes to Victoria after a 26 year career with the Red Deer Public School District, where he served as superintendent for the last five years. He also spent four years as the associate superintendent with Chinook’s Edge School Division in central Alberta.
He replaces Sherri Bell who resigned after taking the position as president of Camosun College in July.
Over the past few years, the district has been plagued by an inability to keep superintendents, with Langstraat being the third in the past few years.
“I’m not moving to Victoria to retire, I’m not moving there to just be there for a year or two. I’m in it for the long haul,” Langstraat said. “I’m very committed to providing that stability for the school district and very much committed to providing high quality education for citizens of Victoria.”
In the coming years, Langstraat hopes to forge a pathway of success for Greater Victoria students.
“We have a responsibility for each and every child, not just some of them. We’re in the business of creating life chances for kids and that’s very much what the board of education in Victoria wants and that’s very much what I want,” he added.
But before he can do that, Langstraat must deal with the funding challenges and cuts that school districts across the province are also facing.
“I need to work with the board making sure there’s predictable, sustainable, adequate funding for the school district and that obviously means working with the government and advocating for that,” he said.
According to board chair Edith Loring-Kuhanga, Langstraat has the experience and vision the school district needs.
“Education is rapidly changing and we’re looking for someone who was dynamic, has lots of experience, who had really strong leadership and had some great ideas. He definitely fit the bill,” Loring-Kuhanga said. “We’re really excited to have someone of his calibre come to our school district. We’re really looking forward to him coming aboard.”
Langstraat and his wife are moving to Victoria this weekend and will take over as superintendent before the school year starts on Aug. 24.