New Carlton Principal having a homecoming at the school

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald Jennifer Ferguson is the new Principal at Carlton Comprehensive High School.

For the 2023-2024 school year Carlton Comprehensive will have a new principal in Jennifer Ferguson.

Ferguson replaced Jeff Court who took an opportunity to become a superintendent of education with Saskatchewan Rivers.

Ferguson explained that she had worked at Carlton until 2017 as a math and social studies teacher for a decade and a vice principal for the next seven so it was a bit of a homecoming.

“I’ve been saying that this is the place I grew up as a teacher, really and learned how to be the best teacher I could be. And so I’m really happy to be back here and be able to be in this environment,” Ferguson said.

She left in 2018 and was principal at Wild Rose School for four years and spent last year at Wesmor Public High School in Prince Albert.

The hiring practice in Saskatchewan Rivers is to work with the superintendent in charge of human resources, who up until this year was Neil Finch, who is now director of education.

“There is lots of change. I mean, it’s a great place to be, all schools are wonderful, I’ve loved every school I’ve worked in, but there’s something about this building you certainly can’t replicate the energy or the organized chaos that is Carlton I love it here,” Ferguson said.

Transitioning between schools is always difficult according to Ferguson because you care about all of the students and staff at each school.

“And you want to make sure you leave them in the best possible position for success. And you know you’re going to miss them, but you’re also excited about taking on a new challenge and working with new people and new kids,” Ferguson said.

At the end of the last school year, she did a get-to-know-you interview for Carlton social media. She explained that the students who were at the school when she was initially on staff are now long gone.

“It’s amazing, though I wasn’t really expecting to know that many students, but I’ve stayed connected even when I continued to coach senior girls basketball with Kelsey Pearson,” Ferguson said.

”So I have relationships with those kids. In my four years at Wild Rose. Those students have now all grown up into high school students and are here in this building so I know quite a few of them,” she added.

She explained that she is also a coach in fastball and with the Thunder basketball program so there are other relationships.

“I was kind of shocked, actually, as I walk the halls how many kids I actually do know already, and I’m getting to know many more.”

Previous Vice Principals Kent Arpin and Bruce Friesen are still on staff, Corinne Cey is the Principal at Birch Hills and Ryan Michalchuk who was at Birch Hills as a Vice Principal is now a Vice Principal at Carlton. Michalchuk was previously employed at Carlton at the same time as Ferguson.

With the size of Carlton as a school, there can also be challenges but Ferguson is embracing that challenge.

“There’s many things, in schools that are the same regardless of the size and the makeup, but they’re obviously unique challenges when you come to a new building, regardless of the size. The size, it depends on your perspective. Some people think it’s too big and it’s too difficult to get to know everyone,” Ferguson said.

She explained that she sees the size as a positive because there are opportunities.

“There are so many different types of people here. We have such a diverse population that there are friends for everyone. You can come here, you can find your place, you can get involved in something that you’re passionate about and I love it, that’s what excites me,” Ferguson said.

The staff tries to find many ways to help students feel comfortable and give it the feeling of a small school.

”And I think we do a really good job of creating that community. And I think those that came before me did a really great job and it’s just my hope that I get to continue that too,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson explained that she will do her best to always have an open door for parents and students. ”I’m excited to be back. If people have questions, they can call, pop in, or emails. We want to be as helpful as we can, and we’re anxious to work with the community to make sure that not only our school is a great place, but that our community can keep becoming better and better,” Ferguson said.