The Medicine Hat Catholic Board of Education has hired 18 teachers this year, but with a record number of maternity leaves, 10 of those new hires will be on a temporary contract.
“(It’s) is a lot for us. We are fairly small board,” said new deputy superintendent Nick Gale.
Another two are temporary contracts to cover other leaves for the coming academic year. The division has also hired six new teachers on a probationary contract. Fourteen teachers that were on a probationary contract in 2022-23 have been moved to a continuous contract for the 2023-24 year. This high number of continuous contracts was due to the number of retirements in 2021-22 with another six or seven positions becoming available in the 2022-23 year and that is what the division has staffed for now.
Three teachers retired in 2022-23 along with Chuck Hellman, the previous deputy superintendent.
“There is a domino effect with that,” said Gale. “Chuck retired, I moved from principal (at St. Mary’s) to here, vice-principal became the principal and a teacher became the vice-principal, so now there is a teacher spot open.”
A few teachers gave up their contract, either to pursue other opportunities or because they were moving to a different city.
“We are really impressed with the talent pool out there, we had some really good applicants and we are very pleased with the people we attracted in,” said Gale. “It’s exciting for us.”
Some of the hires occurred before the end of the academic year in June as the drama teacher at McCoy moved out of Medicine Hat.
“We actually hired two people for that position with some drama and dance experience,” said Gale. Another vacancy was open at the school so both, in addition to drama, are also teaching other subjects.
MHCBE had 14 new hires for the 2022-23 school year as well.
“A couple of factors there – our schools have grown, which is a good thing,” explained Gale. “We have the international ed program that has become quite successful at Monsignor McCoy, which requires some additional staffing; retirements and people moving on that we’ve had to backfill those positions.”
Overall, MHCBE has 154 teachers, 130 who are full-time and 24 part-time. Support staff total 136 and another 58 who are clerical, janitorial and other positions.
While the division is still taking in registrations for students, they sit at 2,910 students enrolled, and that number is still increasing as new families move into the city.
“We are excited about the new school year, there is some good stuff happening in our division that we are very proud of,” said Gale.
By SAMANTHA JOHNSON, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Original Published on Aug 09, 2023