News & Events

Board of Education Announces Interim Superintendent

New Westminster Schools is delighted to announce retired superintendent of schools Sylvia Russell (no relation to board chair Maya Russell) will join its team as interim superintendent on April 1, 2024. She will take over on that date from Karim Hachlaf, the district’s current CEO, when he joins Burnaby Schools as their new superintendent.

“We’re pleased to have Sylvia anchor our district through this important time while we recruit a permanent superintendent,” said Maya Russell, chair for the board of education. “Her track record providing interim leadership and mentoring superintendents will give our staff the support and guidance they need while we take the time for a strong superintendent selection process.”

“I’m very happy for the opportunity to join New Westminster Schools,” said Sylvia Russell. “I’m looking forward to working with the Board of Education and my new colleagues in School District 40 to meet the needs of students, parents, guardians and caregivers in the New Westminster community.”

“Sylvia is a great addition to our team,” said Karim Hachlaf, superintendent of schools in New Westminster. “Her credentials and passion in public education mean New Westminster Schools is in good hands.”

Sylvia Russell is an experienced educator who served as Superintendent of Schools for School District No.42 (Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows) for six years before retiring in January 2021 after a 38-year career in the BC public education system. In her time as superintendent, she and her team successfully developed and implemented a strategic plan that covered the four educational pillars of social and emotional learning, learning and assessment, secondary school innovation, and literacy to meet the needs of all learners.  In addition, under Russell’s leadership, School District 42 began piloting a Provincial program that created school-based integrated teams to support students and families in need of barrier-free mental health and substance use services.

Russell remains active in retirement. She continues to assist school district leaders as an educational consultant and belongs to a small team of retired educational leaders that provides mentorship support to newly appointed district leaders and superintendents on behalf of the British Columbia School Superintendents’ Association.

New Westminster Schools is thrilled to have Sylvia on board. Her wealth of experience and knowledge will be tremendous boons to the district. Please join us in welcoming her to the New Westminster educational community.