North Battleford’s ‘unfair rap’ attracted new principal to JPII

As opposed to some retirees who move away from the city, Jamie McIsaac came out of retirement in Ontario to work in North Battleford.

The new principal of John Paul II Comprehensive High School retired when he was 54, but he “still felt he had a lot of time and energy.”

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McIsaac is from Orillia, Ont., and worked there for 31 years. He’s been married to his wife Lucia for 33 years, and has three adult children, two of whom are engineers.

McIsaac started as a math teacher at a public high school.

In 1985, Ontario gave full funding to Catholic schools, he said, and a Catholic school opened in Orillia. He then worked for the Catholic school board.

McIsaac became vice-principal, then spent 17 years as principal.

He said North Battleford interested him because of its reputation.

“I felt it was getting an unfair rap, and there were probably some kids who needed help and support.”

McIsaac has zero previous experience in Saskatchewan, but he said he’s ready.

“I feel that I work well with people,” he said, adding he’s a good motivator of people and uses positive praise and recognition.

McIsaac said he recognizes students are different and learn differently.

“We don’t expect them all to be the same height or have the same shoe size when they come [to school], so how can we expect them to learn the same way at the same rate?”

JPII’s new principal said he’s a firm believer in the vocation of teaching, “and I feel I still have gifts to give.”

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