By David F. Rooney
A quiet family tragedy is forcing popular educator and Begbie View Elementary Principal Shan Jorgenson-Adam back to Bonnyville, Alberta.
“I thought I was coming back for the long haul,” she said in an interview late Sunday afternoon.
Shan returned here in May to close down Mount Begbie Elementary and to take the helm as Begbie View’s first principal. However shortly after her return, her husband, Jerry, was diagnosed as suffering from non-cancerous tumors.
“These non-cancerous tumors have invaded the base of skull and spine and his cheek muscles,” Shan said.
“He has excellent doctors. We’re hopeful that they’ll find a way to deal with this.”
Jerry is currently being treated on an out-patient basis at a hospital in Edmonton and Shan has been travelling back and forth from Revelstoke to Edmonton and Bonnyville when she can. Compounding this situation is the fact that they have been unable to sell their house in Bonnyville, a town of just under 7,000 that is located 240 kilometres northeast of Edmonton.
There is only one way to deal with this kind of emergency and that is to put family first. SD19 Superintendent Anne Cooper and the Board of Trustees understand that completely and fully support Shan’s decision.
“This past week, the (School District 19 Board of Trustees) accepted Shan’s resignation, for personal reasons, to be effective January 25, 2013,” Cooper told The Current this weekend. “Shan has made an indelible mark on our beautiful new Begbie View School and we will be forever grateful. The Board, and I, fully support her decision and we wish her, Jerry, Faith and Courtney all the best in the coming months and years.”
SD19 Chairman Alan Chell echoed Cooper’s comments and said the board fully supports Shan in her decision.
“In my opinion family always comes first,” he said Sunday.
In a message to BVE’s Parents’ Advisory Council Shan explained the situation.
“Unfortunately, my husband’s health continues to be a concern and all of the medical care he is receiving is in Alberta,” she told the PAC. “An additional stress has been that our home in Bonnyville has not sold. I believe that given these circumstances the best place, for Faith and I to be is supporting my husband. Consequently, the Revelstoke Board received my letter of resignation, effective January 25.”
Anne said SD19 will actively begin the search for a new principal this week and it hopes “to secure a candidate to assume duties after Spring Break. In the intervening period, from January 25th, through to the start of spring break, Jane Morris has agreed to become Mount Begbie’s acting principal.”
“I have truly enjoyed being a part of the opening of this new school,” Shan told the PAC. “I am extremely appreciative of your understanding of what a hard decision this has been for my family and I. I guarantee that I will continue to be my BEST in the coming weeks to ensure that Begbie View Elementary students and staff continue “Growing Together… Being their BEST.”
Shan’s departure will leave a real void in Revelstoke’s community. Her professional skills are second to none and her personal warmth, openness and dedication to the children in her care have won her widespread respect and affection from all who knew her. She will be greatly missed by students, parents, teachers and others.
Speaking for myself, I wish Shan, Jerry and family all the best and I shall, as I hope you will, too, say a prayer for them this Christmas.