This is how I felt when I joined the exceptional team of faculty and staff at Rockway Mennonite Collegiate. Since assuming the role of principal in January, I have been impressed with the welcoming and caring learning and working environment. With the return to our pre-COVID-19 activities this September—chapel twice-weekly, music, athletics and clubs—I have observed a renewed sense of energy and happiness schoolwide.
One of the most important jobs I’ve had since coming to Rockway has been to hire a new administrative team—openings resulting from retirement or changing career directions.
In August, we welcomed three new members to our administrative team: Steven Reesor Rempel, director of finance and human resources; Chris Ainsworth, director of advancement; and Josh Hill, vice-principal.
Alongside Stacey VanderMeer, director of admissions, our new team is off to a strong start! Each brings great capacity, vision and commitment to realizing the mission of Rockway. Fresh perspectives can often revitalize organizations and, after two months of working together, it’s clear that Rockway is in good hands.
Rockway administration, faculty and staff spent time together in August exploring how our respective roles and collaborative efforts would support our students this school year. We were energized by our conversations, and articulated a renewed commitment to our mission to “integrate sound academic learning with growth in character and faith, together with a passion for peacemaking and service to God and all creation.”
Inspired by Mennonite Church Eastern Canada’s priority statements, Rockway has developed five priorities that will help to guide our community life: racial justice, reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples, climate justice, full inclusion of LGBTQ+ persons, and positive mental health. We look forward to student-led campaigns, chapels and other events focusing on these priorities.
Our 2022-23 chapel theme, “Compassion: Drawing the circle wide, “enables us to explore our connection with others and develop deeper understandings of, and appreciation for, the experiences of others. We seek to encourage compassion for those in our school, for our wider community and for ourselves. Our chapel theme is intimately tied to our commitment as Mennonites to actively work for peace and restorative justice.
As the year unfolds, it is clear to me that the enthusiasm of our growing student body (now more than 300), the dedication of our faculty and staff, and the ongoing support of our Rockway community, will continue to bring that joyful feeling I had when I first stepped through Rockway’s doors to all who enter.
Rockway’s administrative team, pictured from left to right, front row: Stacey VanderMeer, director of admissions; and Elaine Ranney, principal; and back row: Josh Hill, vice-principal; Chris Ainsworth, director of advancement; and Steven Reesor Rempel, director of finance and human resources. (Photo by Michlynn Schweitzer)