Nick Kopot will be the new principal of Chief Paul Niditchie School in Tsiigehtchic, replacing Sonia Gregory.
Kopot, who has a master’s degree in Indigenous education, has spent this academic year teaching Grade 7 to 9 at the school. He previously taught junior high school and served as vice-principal of Helen Kalvak School in Ulukhaktok.
“It’s a really beautiful little town,” he said of Tsiigehtchic. “It’s very rich in culture… it’s a good energy here.”
Kopot says he was drawn to the leadership role because he has “always felt the need to advocate for students to other adults.”
“I always felt that I’ve always been very student-centred, as a teacher and as a coach,” he said.
He says he wants to be there not just for the students, but for families as well.
“I want to be available … to hear their concerns, to make sure supports are in place, and to make sure that the teachers are doing absolutely everything they can to support those students.”
Despite the challenges of physical distancing the fall is set to bring, Kopot is looking forward to getting back into the school.
“It’s exciting regardless … I’m prepping the school for different things, fixing up little things, and getting the desks in order and seeing what the space is like, and seeing how many people we can feasibly have in the classrooms,” he said.
“It’s more work, certainly, but I think it’s a huge, huge advantage to be able to return to school and have that face-to-face time instead of relying solely on the distance learning, which, for the most part I think, struggles purely on the logistics and infrastructure of internet in the North.
“That’s a huge barrier to accessing continuity of education.”