From kindergarten to the workplace

By: Diandra Sandoval

Welcome to kindergarten. Welcome to work.

Diandra and Jon PowellJon Powell is my former principal at Mountview Alternative Public School. He is also my colleague at The Learning Partnership.

During my second interview for an event planning position at The Learning Partnership, I innocently mentioned that it was great to see my grade school principal featured on The Learning Partnership blog for the Canada’s Outstanding Principals gala. I was puzzled with the response. My interviewers chuckled and then informed me that Jon, now retired as a principal, worked at The Learning Partnership and specifically on the Canada’s Outstanding Principals program, which, if I was hired, I would help plan. And so I came to be working with my grade school principal. Jon says “[I] owe all of my success to [him]” as I received a top notch education in my formative years under his watchful eye as principal.

While it was very comforting to see a familiar face at my new job, working with my grade school principal took a little adjusting to.  My colleagues would chuckle when I initially kept referring to Jon as Mr. Powell. As a child I remember Jon being very serious and somewhat solemn. Perhaps that was his guise with the student body because now Jon is forever jovial and the first one to crack a hilarious joke.

Jon has remained a great mentor and colleague. My fondest memory at The Learning Partnership was orchestrated by him.  It was my first gig as the National Events Manager for the organization and I was absorbed in my tasks. As I was preparing the winners of Canada’s Oustanding Principals outside the ballroom for their grand entrance, one of the principals shouted, “Hey, it’s Diandra, Jon’s student! He told us about you. Thanks for putting this together!” which was followed by loud cheers from the other principals. That moment was priceless and the months of preparation, long hours, and stress dissipated, leaving me with a sense of pride, fulfillment and gratitude.

A great principal makes a great school. My principal also makes a great work colleague.

diandra-sandovalDiandra Sandoval is the National Events Manager at The Learning Partnership, where she coordinates events across Canada.

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