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Recently retired Raft River Elementary principal looks forward to substitute teaching

Bradstock’s nearly four-decade career began and ended in Clearwater

Former Raft River Elementary principal Lori Bradstock is retiring after a 37-year career in education.

She officially retired at the end of January, but her last day was Jan. 13 because she had a knee-replacement operation on a few days later. Although it was a good way to end the career, Bradstock does not want to leave the school district forever.

“This tells you just how crazy I am: once I’m recovered and back on my feet I’m going to spend some time as a teacher on call for the district,” the 61-year-old said.

Bradstock grew up in Clearwater, and witnessed the education of two generations of many local families. During her time as principal, Bradstock oversaw the schooling of some children whose grandparents she herself attended school with, she said.

“I would go to a variety of students and say ‘oh yeah I taught your mom,’ ‘I taught your dad,’ ‘I taught your auntie,’” she said. “It was one of the real positives of doing it this way, because education is all about relationships. When you already have a relationship with the family you are a step ahead in making that connection.”

This experience was relatively unique, because she would have moved around a lot more if she spent the majority of her career teaching in a larger city. Her son was also educated by the Clearwater school system, adding to the many personal connections she has with it.

Her most important advice to future teachers: make sure you know why you want to be an educator.

“This is a challenging job, there is no doubt about it. You really have to have a heart for the job. And Clearwater is super lucky, the people that work at schools here really do have a heart for the job.

“There are always challenges when you are working with families, but what really stands out for me is all the positives. All the great things about it,” she added.

From an early age, Bradstock knew her career would take her to the classroom because she loved working with children. Her father used to say Bradstock did not have a choice, because she was born to teach.

Bradstock began her first teaching position in Blue River, before the now-defunct School District 26 amalgamated with the Kamloops-Thompson (73) School District. After a year in Blue River, she taught in Vavenby for two years before a 12-year stretch at the former Dutch Lake Elementary School.

She also did substitute teaching when she briefly moved to Sydney, Australia and worked at Hawkesbury Independent School in a neighbouring rural town for a year. After her time in Australia, she reflected on her 26 years in the classroom and decided that she was ready for another change.

She earned a masters in leadership and administration from Gonzaga University through its touring program, while still working locally. She participated in School District 73’s leadership development program before becoming a vice-principal.

In her time as an administrator, she served as vice principal at Raft River and Arthur Hatton Elementary in Kamloops. For the past decade, Bradstock has been a school administrator in Clearwater. It felt inevitable to circle back to where she started, she said.

With the offical end of her career behind her, she looks forward to revisiting her favourite part of it: classroom teaching.

“I did the administration part because it seemed like a logical next step, but you do miss out on a bit when you’re not in the classroom everyday. So I’m excited to go back and do some fun stuff with the kids.”

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About the Author: Morgana Adby, Local Journalism Initiative

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