A new superintendent and CEO for schools in the Gulf Islands has officially signed on, according to board officials, who announced this week Jill Jensen will be filling the position effective Feb. 1, 2024.
Gulf Islands School District 64 (SD64) tapped Jensen to fill the soon-to-be-empty shoes of outgoing superintendent/CEO Scott Benwell, who announced his plans to depart at the end of the calendar year. Jensen is currently serving as superintendent/CEO of School District 92 Nisga’a, and was selected after an extensive recruitment search led by SD64’s Board of Education.
“Jill referred to the superintendent’s role as the ‘lead learner’ in a district,” said board chair Tisha Boulter. “I feel incredibly grateful that Jill was drawn to our ad posting and feel confident that she is the right fit to be our next lead learner.”
Jensen has been an educator in both B.C. and Alberta for more than three decades, Boulter said, and the board was inspired by Jensen’s genuine hands-on approach to the challenge of a district made up of five island communities. Jensen said she is eager to form relationships and continue the “excellent work already taking place.
“In a geographically diverse school district, I need to be present and connecting,” said Jensen, “with students, teachers, support staff, parents, and community members — everyone has a role to play. I have to know people.”
Jensen added she looks forward to playing a pivotal role in ensuring a solid future for Gulf Islands’ learners and schools — to cultivate a supportive, caring and welcoming environment that prioritizes student voice and provides enriched learning opportunities for students and staff.
The SD64 Board of Education said it engaged long-serving superintendent and B.C. “education leader” Anne Cooper as a consultant for the recruitment process, along with partner groups and selected staff representatives to help define attributes and abilities that were important to them in the next Gulf Islands School District leader. Boulter said the board extended its sincere gratitude to the staff and partner groups who contributed to the process for sharing insights and valuable feedback during the interview process.