Sask Rivers begins laying groundwork to hire new education director

Saskatchewan Rivers School Division director of education Robert Bratvold announced his retirement effective July 31, 2023. -- Sask Rivers Public School Division photo

With director of education Robert Bratvold retiring at the end of this school year, the Saskatchewan Rivers School Division is beginning the work of hiring his successor.

That includes approving a revised policy about the role of the director of education, something the board discussed during their meeting on Monday.

“I think it’s very prudent of the board, as they do with all of their policies on a regular basis, just to kind of refresh them, and this is a very timely way to do that,” Bratvold said. “They have paid attention to the policies around the role of the director for the last couple of years but this is a chance to refresh and revise it.”

One of those changes involves evaluations. Bratvold said the director evaluation is a key meeting that typically happens in October. If the board sticks to that schedule, the new hire will only have been on the job for a month or two when the evaluation date arrives, and waiting more than a year before holding the meeting was something the board wants to avoid.

The board plans to hold an informal review during the next school year before deciding on a firm evaluation date.

“Our timeline had been (holding) that director evaluation, along with the board evaluation that usually happens, in the fall, like October,” Bratvold explained. “There are other school divisions that have different timelines so that it happens in the spring, like May or June.

“They have adjusted that to make sure there is an opportunity for check in and conversation in an informal but focused way, and then to do a more formal evaluation process later in that school year,” he added. “I think that there is some value to that.”

Bratvold is not a part of the formal hiring process formally but is offering his expertise as the board prepares to interview candidates.

He said that when a director is hired, there should be a solid structure and outlines in place.

“When a director candidate is considering a school division, they want to know the board has got a sense of professionalism, a sense of purpose and vision for education and clarity around what they are expecting their director to accomplish and to achieve,” Bratvold explained.

He added that Monday’s meetings are part of a process to outline the board’s vision and create an environment that will be attractive to potential candidates.

“Once you have that director, then you build that relationship,” Bratvold said. “It’s making sure that the director evaluation review process serves both the needs of the board, the system and the students and also the director and staff. It’s to make sure you have those two things compatible and connected and mutually beneficial.”

A director search session with the facilitator is scheduled for next week. The board has not announced who the facilitator will be.