Dr. Perkins is Superintendent of Schools/CEO for School District 8 – Kootenay Lake. She leads a district with 5000 students and a committed staff of 900 plus who believe and “focus on excellence for all learners in a nurturing environment”. Dr. Perkins works with a diverse Board representing 23 schools, both face to face and online. In addition to the Education, International, French Immersion, and many Outdoor Education programs, Dr. Perkins overseas the areas of Finance & Operations, Governance and Policy, Human Resources, Inclusion, International and Aboriginal Education. She also served as Assistant Superintendent for Nicola-Similkameen School District #58, and as a high school Principal and Vice-Principal at Sea to Sky School District #48, and began her teaching career in Central Okanagan School District #23. Dr. Perkins spent her early career in the Communications industry: as Promotions Manager in radio, as reporter and editor in print media, as well as, Communications Director in professional theatre. Dr. Perkins believes in holistic, humanistic approaches to education and have always enjoyed being on the leading edge of new learning. She believes in collaborative leadership and involving representative stakeholders in decision-making while remaining fiscally responsible. Dr. Perkins wants students to not only have an enriching educational experience, but to have an educational experience that will enable them to make the world a better place for all of us. Dr. Perkins was born near Belfast, Northern Ireland, raised in Jamaica, and has traveled quite extensively throughout her career.
Meeting Christine Perkins
What is your most memorable experience from your time in the Faculty of Education?
My most memorable experience involved attending the EDST Institutes. They were collaborative social events that helped us all raise the bar and tested our thinking on educational theory and praxis. During the Institutes, we shared and challenged each other about our research and findings and it made us all better. The camaraderie of our cohort was excellent and I am pleased to say I remain friends with the majority of them to this day. In addition, the team ad for my Doctorate supervisory committee are first-class, led by Dr. Deirdre Kelly. UBC is lucky to have her.
Where has your education from the Faculty of Education taken you in your career?
My Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Policy has taken me from the Vice-Principalship to the Superintendency. My education has taken me from the Okanagan to Sea to Sky and from the Nicola-Similkameen to Kootenay Lake. Learning has taken me from UBC to a current collaborative study on transformational leadership and deeper learning with colleagues from around the province and across the United States. My education has opened doors and closed biases. My education has shown me the world in ways I could never have imagined. My education is a gift I cherish each and every day. I am still learning.
Where do issues of inclusion find a place in your life or at work?
Issues of inclusion have always been part of my life, whether as a child in then civil-war torn Northern Ireland, being raised in Jamaica, as an immigrant in Canada, and in my work in schools. Human Rights are important to me and I work hard to create inclusive environments. I have a little bit of a mantra I like to repeat: “I don’t care whether you are Muslim, Christian, Jew, or Atheist, you are welcome here. I don’t care if you are black, white, green, or purple, you are welcome here. I don’t care if you are gay, straight, trans, or two-spirited, you are welcome here. It doesn’t matter to me how abled you are, you are welcome here.” As a transformational leader, I work to inspire my staff, my families, my students to figure out ways to include.
Do you have any words of wisdom for current students? Newly graduated folks?
Get to know your professors and surround yourself with supportive family and friends. None of us succeed in this education journey without a supportive team. I am proud of everyone I have had the privilege to work with and believe that each day in education, we strive to make the world a better place.
If you are newly graduated, embrace change. Travel. Work overseas. Go North. Work in Indigenous communities. Be kind. Be good to yourself. Keep learning.