By Bella Crysler –
As Nepean students headed back to school for the new year and into their first set of exams, they also said goodbye to an important member of the school community. After a year and a half of being the school’s principal, Renald Cousineau is getting ready for an exciting new chapter. Effective February 1, he will be the superintendent of education for the Renfrew County District School Board. Replacing him at NHS will be Ms. Krista McNamara, who is currently principal at Brookfield High School.
Mr. Cousineau, who has been working in education for 23 years and as a principal for the past 12, says that while he is excited for the challenge that comes along with his new position, he is leaving the school with mixed emotions.
When asked what work he was most proud of from his time at Nepean, Mr. Cousineau said it was helping the needs of a diverse student body.
“I don’t think it would surprise anyone to hear that there are a lot of students at Nepean who achieve at a very high level. But there is a cluster of students who, sometimes at a school like Nepean, fall through the cracks or struggle a little bit more,” he says, adding that he’s proud of building Nepean’s capacity to serve the needs of all students.
“Nepean is home school to eleven hundred students, we need to make sure that there is equity of access to successful outcomes for eleven hundred students,” he notes.
When asked what he will miss the most about the school he quickly confirms that it’s definitely not the stairs (Nepean is famous for its sprawl across multiple levels) but all kidding aside, he said he’ll miss interacting with the students every day.
“That’s the reason that we are in this business,” says Mr. Cousineau. “If I’m in education, it’s to make sure that students are at the heart of every decision. There are certain students that I know I will be seeing every morning and talking to almost every afternoon. That’s a grounding element to why we do this work.”
Mr. Cousineau says he’ll also miss the family atmosphere at Nepean. “From the beginning I was welcomed with open arms and I want them to know how appreciative I am of this,” he says.
Nepean High School will certainly miss Mr. Cousineau and we thank him for his dedication and hard work.
Bella Crysler is a grade 12 student at Nepean High School.