New QHS principal looks forward to “successes, big and small”

Photo: Scott French

Thomson and the QHS founders plaque: “History tells of a community, not just a school.”

While most kids probably aren’t awaiting the start of the school year with great enthusiasm, one man certainly is.

Warren Thomson has been waiting in the wings to fully fulfil his new role as principal at Quebec High School – a job to which he was appointed on July 1, replacing outgoing principal Mark Sutherland. Sutherland has moved on to a position as the Co-ordinator of Educational Services at the Central Quebec School Board.

Thomson said the first year of his tenure will be focused on solidifying several new programs developed under Sutherland.

“I think Mark had a great vision for this school, with great pedagogical leadership, that’s why he moved on to the board,” Thomson noted.

Thomson proudly listed the programs at QHS that will receive renewed attention, notably the sport concentration programs in soccer and basketball, the integrated arts program (Arts Études) and the Community Learning Centre. By creating partnerships with organizations in the community, the CLC, led by co-ordinator Ed Sweeney, “gives kids the chance to become active leaders in their community, which is so important,” Thomson said.

The new principal said he will not limit himself to the status quo, however: “Before I know what to develop, I need to understand what’s needed first.”

Development is one aspect of Thomson’s work he can comfortably say is “one of my passions.” At the beginning of his career in 1996, Thomson developed the English concentration program at La Camaradière. He later served as a consultant during the Ministry of Education’s pedagogical reforms. Finally, Thomson served as a vice-principal at École Secondaire Roger Comtois for the last four years.

In a 2005 interview with the QCT, Thomson stood at a fork in the road, whether to continue teaching or continue with a career in school administration. Thomson has clearly since chosen the latter. “People in the past have had confidence in me. Joanne Gaudet [the principal at Roger Comtois] sat down to talk about what she saw in me. She said she saw me as a principal,” adding, “I got to where I am because of the people along the way.”

Despite a continuing respect for the institution he came from, Thomson said the staff, parents and school board, “made me feel really welcome, especially coming from the large French sector.” Thomson admires “the human approach,” noting, “at QHS everyone is responsible for the development of our youth; it’s a shared responsibility.”

The community aspect of working at QHS is what Thomson relishes most. Thomson currently lives in Stoneham but is looking to move to Montcalm with his wife, Karel Dufour, a teacher at l’Odysée, and his two sons, both of whom are in the English school system in Quebec City.

“That way I can come home from work, eat supper and get back in time for a Blazers game,” Thomson said.