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The school of life

While Bev Young has given numerous kids from the Bulkley Valley advice on what to do after school, when it came to her own career and personal planning, she always knew she wanted to be a teacher.
Bev Young prepares to move south to take up a new career closer to family.

While Bev Young has given numerous kids from the Bulkley Valley advice on what to do after school, when it came to her own career and personal planning, she always knew she wanted to be a teacher.

“I think teaching chose me, really, in that for as long as I remember, it was something I had planned to do,” she said. “It was something I played out as a kid, it was something in teen years that, whether it was helping to tutor or helping to coach, I always fell into both teaching and leadership roles.”

And it’s a choice she’s glad she made, Young said, who all these 25 years later can honestly say she has loved all her jobs, with many different challenges, and opportunities.

And she’s not the only one in her family, with nine members of her family joining her in the teaching career.

“So I feel like it was part of our blood and we are a family of teachers who just had the natural tendency to gravitate to teaching roles,” Young said.

She started her career at St. Joseph’s School in 1985, shortly after graduating the University of Victoria with her Bachelor of Education. Smithers was totally new for her, and after a brief stint in Prince George, she was specifically sought out by the superintendent, she said, for a full time position at Chandler Park Middle School, where her public school career began.

“That was a goal of mine to work at Chandler Park, I loved the age group, the adolescence,” Young said.

Since then, she’s worked all across SD54, including Houston, where she was the Vice Principal, and later principal, of Houston Secondary School. Shortly after that, she became a helping teacher, who would help administrators and other teachers with some changes going on in 2000.

“It was a high learning curve, it was challenging, it was exciting, there were a lot of changes going on,” Young said of the time.

What she found, however, was that she wanted to get back to helping the kids, the main passion of her career, and so she went back to teaching before becoming first the Assistant Superintendent then, later, Superintendent.

And she’s loved all her positions, she said, although she did note that being a principal has held a certain charm over her.

“I got to have it all, I got to work with kids, I got to get to know kids really well,” Young said. “But still be involved in the leadership that I would hope would make a difference to kids by the work I do. That job, still really is one of my favourite ones.”

That said, she’s really enjoyed being part of the district culture and the ability to have an impact with kids at the board level.

“It just keeps getting better,” Young said.

Young has mixed feelings on her recent decision to move south to be closer to family. Both her and her husband’s family are near the Okanagan, so at the end of February, they’ll be packing their bags to move south, where she will become the Superintendent for SD53 - Okanagan Similkameen. It’s a move she’s considered, very briefly, before however raising a family here and seeing how it’s shaped them to be the best they can be, it’s hard to let that go, she said. But now, as her family has grown, and this opportunity presented itself, it’s a move that she found she just had to take.

“I have had positive experiences in both my career and in the community, the people I’ve met, that supported me … will always be a part of my heart,” Young said.

She’s always been proud of being part of the Bulkley Valley, and after working at all levels of education, from Kindergarten to Grade 12, administration, then into the board room, she can honestly say that her own education here has been well rounded.