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New temporary superintendent to take over at North Van school district

March 14, 2022


​Sylvia Russell takes over as acting superintendent of the North Vancouver School District on Monday, March 14. | SD44

By Jane Seyd, North Shore News.

There will be a new temporary head of the North Vancouver School District taking up the reins over Spring Break.

Sylvia Russell, who previously retired from the role of superintendent of Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District, will take over as acting superintendent on March 14.

Russell is stepping in as the outgoing superintendent, Mark Pearmain, leaves to take over as superintendent of the Surrey School District, the largest in the province.

Prior to his exit this week, Pearmain attended his last public board meeting with school trustees, taking a moment to reflect on accomplishments over the past five years, especially over the last two years of the global pandemic.

“It's very obvious that your shared desire to support the community and to maintain a balanced approach to how you address things and a willingness and an openness to hear from folks who may not necessarily have that same perspective allowed our community to be able to move forward in a way that hasn't ripped us apart,” said Pearmain. “And it doesn't mean that everybody was happy. But from my perspective ... I do believe that many of them felt that they were heard.”

Pearmain headed the local school district during construction of three major capital projects, including the rebuilds of Argyle and Handsworth secondary schools and the seismic upgrade of Mountainside Secondary.

The board of education is using the executive search firm Boyden to recruit a new superintendent as a permanent replacement for Pearmain.

Pearmain announced in November that he would be leaving to take up the job in Surrey.

The Surrey schools superintendent earned over $386,000 last year, including benefits and pension payments, according to the school district’s statement of executive compensation. Pearmain earned over $314,000 last year, including benefits and pension payments, as North Vancouver School District’s superintendent.