International Education Leadership

SD8 acknowledges contributions of retiring District Principal Sandy Prentice.

The Kootenay Lake School District is a kinder and more accepting place for International students to learn and live, thanks to Sandy Prentice, District Principal of International Education.

Sandy has been helping students navigate topics such as acceptance, diversity and inclusion for 41 years. First in her role as a teacher and coach, when she taught in the north (Nechako School District), where she developed a passion for culture and an understanding about the importance of building relationships. Many of these early teaching experiences influenced how her career would evolve to embrace the theme of breaking down barriers for hundreds of students from around the world. 

In 2001, Sandy became the first teacher in the Kootenay Lake School District to host an elementary aged international student in her grade 5-6 classroom. At the time, there were few international students coming to live and learn in the Kootenays. In 2003, Sandy took over the program and has grown enrollment from 15 students from 2 countries to now there are over 225 students coming from 14 different countries.

In her tenure, Sandy has travelled extensively around the globe, promoting the appeal and benefits of studying in Canada. She has been to China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Italy, Mexico, Brazil, Columbia, and India to recruit. She has made connections with Consulate Generals, Embassy ambassadors, and international agencies all over the world.

Here at home, Sandy’s efforts are equally as significant. In her quest to teach inter-culturalization, she has created essential programs that contribute to making a school community feel caring, welcoming and friendly. There are student liaison and homestay support systems, seasonal community-based activity days and an Intercultural Ambassador Club that connects domestic and international students and helps with integration.

Outgoing Exchange programs provide variety of golden opportunities for domestic students to travel and learn about new cultures. One such program is the India exchange, which was initiated by Sandy six years ago. Last December a group of Kootenay Lake School District students travelled to India for an extraordinary 2 week experience. This week, our school district welcomes and will host four students from India in return.

The international group from India have a full itinerary which includes hiking, boating, hot springs, Canada Day celebrations and a multitude of activities and excursions that showcase our regional Kootenay attractions before they are scheduled to return home on July 5th.

This will also be the last exchange program that Sandy will schedule as she is retiring from the District this summer. Sandy was presented with a Years of Service award on May 10th at the District’s Staff appreciation event for her 40 years of service.  The District wishes to congratulate Sandy on her exceptional contributions over the years, and acknowledge how her teachings of inclusivity and acceptance will be built upon and carried forward for years to come. Thank you Sandy and good luck with your future endeavours!

The Kootenay Lake School District welcomes Jann Schmidt to the position of District Principal, International Education effective August 1st, 2019.

For more information;
Christine Perkins 
christine.perkins@sd8.bc.ca