Steve Wyer had always envisioned living in either Revelstoke or Golden for the recreation opportunities that both towns provide. When the principal job at Alexander Park Elementary School opened up due to the retirement of Vicci Nelson, Wyre jumped at the opportunity.
Before taking the job at APES, Wyer spent 10 years as a Vice Principal and Principal at a few different schools around Prince George. Before that he spent several years as a teacher in New Westminster.
“I realized it was an expensive place to raise a family and we moved north to Prince George,” he said.
Since it’s tougher to move around as a teacher, and because he already had the required education, Wyer decided to apply to a variety of positions as a principal. He eventually landed one in Prince George and has been a V.P. or principal ever since.
An avid mountain biker, Golden and Revelstoke were attractive options to him for obvious reasons.
“I’ve been coming here to ride bikes and to do races and stuff…it wasn’t like I was shotgunning resumes out there, I knew where I wanted to go. I wanted to be in a mountain town and I wanted to be closer to the Okanagan where my parents have retired,” he explained. “Prince George was great but it was a long drive from everywhere.”
Wyer admits the first few weeks have been an adjustment period for him – especially given that the teachers strike delayed the start of the school year – and he is still getting used to his new surroundings.
“Right now I’m mostly just observing and seeing. I’m an outsider trying to fit in,” he said. “We’re all learners and I have to see how things are happening before I can set a leadership vision.”
Over the years, Wyer has developed some distinct philosophies with regards to leadership.
“I like people to feel like they are winning every day when they are coming to work and I like to recognize student achievement on a daily basis as well so the students feel like they’re making progress every day,” Wyer said. “My job is kind of like the person who ensures that the soil is fertile for that type of culture to grow, and if it’s already there, for it to be cultivated.”
As for discipline, Wyer sees it as a learning opportunity for his students.
“I truly believe that the word discipline means learning…it’s learning about how to make good choices with our actions” Wyer explained.
Another interesting aspect of Wyer’s style as a principal is that he won’t just call students down to the office when they’ve misbehaved.
“I never want them to see the office as a place where they are punished, because I also see students for good stuff here and we want to do cartwheels and summersaults when they do good things,” he said.