A new nameplate is visible when walking down the Senior School hallway, Assistant Principal Sheryl Walters. While new to this particular role, Ms. Walters has been an ever-positive presence at Calgary Academy for years.
From Junior School teacher to Learning Team Design Lead, Ms. Walters brings a wealth of knowledge, experience, and passion to the School Administration team. She manages CA’s Senior School, planning teacher schedules, responding to student, parent, or teacher concerns, and handling the inevitable issues that can arise in a school.
A Decade at Calgary Academy
The career transition from educator to administrator is a big one, but Ms. Walters is no stranger to a challenge—she started her master’s degree in her first year of teaching.
Teaching at CA since graduating from university, she enjoyed several years in the classroom while learning outside of it. The master’s degree opportunity included three years of working with mathematics teachers across the school, reflecting on how they could be the best educators possible. Ms. Walters sees this experience as being foundational to establishing who she is as an educator.
“I think the master’s degree set me up for success because I had to be heavily reflective from my first year. I constantly thought about my teaching practices, reflected on them, shared them with others, talked about how I could improve… I can’t imagine a better start to my career.” – Ms. Walters
After several years in the classroom, Ms. Walters joined the Learning Team, a group of educators who support classrooms in every grade. Besides working with teachers daily, Ms. Walters saw the opportunity as a way to improve learning throughout the entire school.
“As I shifted into the Learning Team, it was an exciting opportunity to take what I enjoy doing in my classroom and work with new staff and other teachers to implement those practices… I took what I did in the classroom and applied those ideas on a larger scale.”
Assistant Principal Walters
While Ms. Walters brings plenty of experience to her new role, there are still challenges someone can’t anticipate. A principal has a bird’s eye view of the school, seeing how all the pieces come together.
Ms. Walters’ days revolve around all Senior School classes, not just a single classroom like when she was a teacher. She has had to flex her planning muscles, but even if someone plans their entire week—things can shift in a day. She sees flexibility as one of the most essential skills for a principal.
“I think I have learned to be flexible working here… You shift things to meet the needs of the learners. Some of my other responsibilities have to change if there’s a student or parent concern.”
A month into the school year, Ms. Walters easily handles everyday life as a principal. However, her role is much more than daily scheduling and planning. Student success is always her top priority—inside and outside the classroom.
“When students leave here, I want them to feel they understand themselves and know they can pursue their interests and utilize their skill set to find success in whatever they choose.”
While school can feel like the entire world for students at times, it’s only the beginning of their journey. Ms. Walters hopes all CA students graduate with a deeper understanding of themselves. We’re all learners—no matter the path someone takes.
“It’s important that students graduate feeling good about themselves as a person and learner, knowing they can contribute in meaningful ways. The future doesn’t need to look the same for each person.” – Ms. Walters
As Ms. Walters continues her first year as an assistant principal, she’s excited to reflect on how she’s changed within her new role and find ways to improve the school experience for all teachers, parents, and most importantly, students.