Aldergrove Community Secondary School has a new principal, but he isn’t an unfamiliar face. John Pusic worked as a vice-principal at the school from 2007 to 2010 before taking another position as a vice-principal at Langley’s R.E. Mountain Secondary last year.
He said when the chance came to return to ACSS, it was a no-brainer given his experience at the school.
“I know the school, I know the community,” he said. “I feel like I’ve come home.”
Pusic said part of what made ACSS an appealing destination for him was the school’s proven success in preparing kids for a wide range of post-secondary education options, not just only offering programs for those who want to go on to university.
“We have a focus in this school on transitions to post-secondary education,” he said. “For kids, post-secondary isn’t all university.”
He said the idea is to offer support to help each student reach their individual educational goals and leave ACSS with the skills they need to go on.
“Our goal is to have kids transfer into that life after high school,” Pusic said. “It’s about flexibility in choice. We want them to be successful.”
Towards that end, ACSS offers programs such as apprenticeships in carpentry and automotive work, which can help students get a head start on their post-secondary education.
“They get high school and college credits,” he said.
There are also programs in hairdressing, French immersion and more, tailored to help students find something that appeals to them and gets them on track towards what they want to do.
“We’ve got so many things happening,” Pusic said.
Pusic said a large part of that’s thanks to the facilities the school has invested in over the years.
“We’ve got great facilities here,” he said.
He said the work done at ACSS over the last few years will be difficult to improve upon.
“I’m stepping into some big shoes,” Pusic said.
Still, despite being new to the job, Pusic already has some ideas on how to keep ACSS moving forward.
“I want to put a little more focus on technology,” he said.
“The school’s already done a lot of work on that, so it’s not changing direction, but part of that is building the infrastructure.”
Pusic acknowledges that many wouldn’t necessarily see ACSS as a plum assignment given some of the challenges locally.
“We do live in a community that has a lot of at-risk kids,” he said.
That doesn’t scare him off, though.
In fact, he said Aldergrove’s community and kids were key reasons why he wanted to come back.
“I came back because I’m proud of this community, I’m proud of these kids,” he said.
“The biggest challenge for us is to hold our heads high and get kids moving towards post-secondary education.”