Botha School has welcomed new principal Mitch Hammond who has a deep passion and proven record to build small and rural schools.
“Like every new teaching situation, I am eager to learn and am especially interested in what this school in Botha, has been doing for the past few years,” said Hammond who starts at the school of about 60 students from kindergarten to Grade 6.
“I was fortunate to meet the students and staff this past June while they were showcasing their Medieval theme and I am confident that we will have a fabulous year together.”
Hammond comes from Beaverlodge Regional High School where he has served for the past 18 years, teaching art, social studies, construction technology, general music, as well as administrating the school-to-work program, counseling office and serving as vice principal.
“It seems like we are a perfect match for each other and I have long been imagining the adventures we’ll have as we work together to help our students grow,” he said.
Hammond is known as a strong proponent of extracurricular activities and likes to pitch in and help wherever a project like graduation, decorating or the creation of a giant outdoor movie screen needs building.
For many years, he has coached track and field, golf, rock climbing, wrestling and more recently football.
However the greatest enjoyment comes from the arts.
“I am eager to share a lifetime of unique experiences and abilities with Botha,” said Hammond, who has been teaching for just over 20 years.
“I would like to think that any new ideas are the product of scientist and cultural visionaries.”
“It is my job to recognize, embrace and help implement new ideas.”
Living and working in small rural towns most of his life, he is committed to continue the tradition of top-quality education at the school.
“I have to be responsive to the needs of the students and ensure that the parents’ and communities’ views are respected,’ said Hammond,
“Schools are the center of life in small, rural areas and Botha has shown that it is a vital community with excellent parental support.”
“Botha has an established team of dedicated educators and I will be one voice within a group of experts,” he said.
Hammond and the school are planning to work towards helping the Village of Botha celebrate its 100th anniversary next year.
This appears to be the right move at the right time for him.
“Educationally speaking, becoming principal for Clearview seems to be a part of a personal journey,’ said Hammond.
“I’m glad Clearview and I found each other at this time in my career – I was ready.”
Describing this as a beautiful region in Alberta, he was also attracted to the scenery of hills, valleys and lakes.
“I’m a southern Alberta boy who has had a taste of everything, but I most vividly remember living in rural areas,” said Hammond.
He and his wife Jo-Laine have three children, Shannon in Grade 9, Brittney, 22 years, and Keegan, 19.
“We love the pace of rural life and enjoy the friendly neighbors that come with country living.”
Born and raised in Calgary until he was eight years old, he then went to school in Redcliff, Seven Persons and finally Medicine Hat.
After university, he spent the last two decades raising his family on an acreage east of Beaverlodge in the Peace Country in northwestern Alberta.