Being principal of a rural high school is not without its challenges, but for Rimbey high school principal Tim Lekas, the pros of the job far outweigh the cons.
Lekas, who recently received a distinguished leadership award from the Central Alberta Council for School leadership, is happy to receive the award, but insists the award has far more to do with the success of the school than to do with him, personally.
“Really, it’s the whole school,” he said. “It’s the staff and the parents.”
Lekas is proud of Rimbey Junior/Senior High School, where he began as a teacher 21 years ago.
After more than two decades of being an integral part of the school, Lekas is pleased to see the school evolve into a positive, ever changing community.
“Our school is a small community in itself,” he said. “And the staff and students all get along, we have good relationships here.”
However, as with any school or community, a good leader is a crucial component to making it be the best it can be.
Assistant principals Chris Oram and Bill Bramfield and teacher Sonja Dykslag nominated Lekas for the distinguished education leader award because they truly believe he has those qualities.
“Tim models working collaboratively,” said Oram.
“Being the principal of a rural school is a challenging job. As challenges present themselves, Tim works hard to work with the staff, students and community members to resolve issues. He is transparent as we work our way through problems and seeks out a variety of opinions and voices to inform the decision-making process.”
Another teacher at the school noted Lekas has a positive leadership style.
“Under Tim’s leadership, our school has undergone many changes in several different areas. He has created a culture in which students succeed and genuinely like going to school. He has a great vision and has put the correct resources in place to make that vision a reality.”
While his staff gives credit to their principal, Lekas prefers to put the focus back on his school and his staff.
“Our provincial exam results were very, very good,” he said. “They were significantly above the provincial average.”
He is also pleased with the Rimbey high school graduation rates.
“Last year we had 93 per cent graduate. The provincial average was under 75 per cent.”
Lekas is also proud to note a mentoring program which happens Tuesday mornings and Thursday afternoon seems to be working well. The program gives teachers an opportunity to work with small groups of students who are experiencing difficulty in a certain subject. Students who are having no problems with the subject are allowed to work on their own.
No doubt, winning the distinguished educational leader award was a great thrill for Lekas, but it is plain awards and accolades are not as important to him as working with young people and knowing he truly is making a difference.
“Working with the kids is definitely the best part,” he said. “Kids sometimes get a bit of a bad rap. Going into education is a great career choice,” he added. “There are lots of positions out there.”
Lekas is married to Gail and the couple has two children; Ariel, who is attending the University of Alberta studying law and Sander, who is working towards a science degree at Kings University.
Rimbey Junior/Senior High School has a staff of approximately 21 teachers and eight support staff and serves approximately 470 students by providing a diverse offering of educational programs for grades seven through twelve.