Powell River Board of Education has announced the appointment of Jessica Johnson as the district principal of Indigenous education for School District 47 (SD47), effective October 1.
According to a media release from SD47, Johnson and her husband moved to Tla’amin territory in 2018 to raise their daughters near their family, language and culture. Johnson is a citizen of the Métis Nation British Columbia, and a member of the local Métis chartered community.
The release stated that Johnson is grateful to carry the name čɩgɛtoǰɛ, pronounced chih-geh toe-jeh, which was gifted to her in 2019 by her husband’s grandmother qaʔaχstalɛs, pronounced kah-ahk stahl-es (Dr. Elsie Paul).
Johnson began working in Indigenous education more than a decade ago, with her most recent experiences being in School District 44 and School District 47 leadership positions supporting teachers with the change in BC curriculum to be more inclusive of Indigenous themes, worldviews and perspectives. In 2016, Johnson completed a leadership and administration master of education degree from the University of British Columbia, and was part of the first cohort with a focus on Indigenous education and social justice.
Over the past year, Johnson has co-led the work of SD47’s equity in action project, co-taught and co-facilitated the pilot of the traditional skill-builder program, as well as in other classrooms across the school district.
This year, Johnson looks forward to continuing to build relationships and connections with Tla’amin Nation, Métis and other Indigenous students, families and community, according to the release. She and the school district believe her new role is essential in taking steps toward reconciliation and both are thrilled to welcome Indigenous voice and perspective to the School District 47 leadership team.
Johnson is grateful to have had the opportunity to work with and learn from the members of the Indigenous team, Indigenous students, community members and district staff over the past four years, according to the release. It is with a great sense of responsibility and humility that she takes on this work to contribute to and promote reconciliation, the release stated.