There will be a new face in charge at Clearwater Secondary School in September but he comes with already-formed ties to Clearwater and area.
Darren Coates, who is taking over from Alan Stel as CSS principal, is married to Barb Wadlegger, daughter of a well-known local sawmilling and farming family.
“We have three kids and when I told them we will be moving to Clearwater they were very excited,” said Coates. “They have seven cousins in Clearwater and we spend a lot of time here.”
His children learned to ski on Clearwater ski hill, they’ve spent time on Candle Creek cross-country ski trails, gone mountain biking here, and helped out on the Wadleggers’ ranch.
Coates is presently the vice-principal of Merritt Secondary, a school with 650 to 700 students – compared to about 250 at CSS.
Despite the size difference, he’s been very impressed with what the local school has to offer students.
“Clearwater Secondary has probably the best-equipped shops for that size of school I’ve ever seen,” Coates said.
The food program at CSS provides affordable and healthy lunches to students, and the people working there seem to have good relationships with them.
Coates likes the layout of the school, with plenty of windows and light.
“The grounds are great, with lots of green space, plus there is the skateboard park, Sportsplex, the tennis courts nearby – a great resource for the kids and phys ed classes,” he said.
Coates’ background is in science and he plans to teach Physics 11 next fall as well as Science 8.
His wife, Barb, presently works as a public health nurse in Merritt plus works part time in the emergency room in Kamloops. He was not sure what she would be doing in Clearwater but noted her father, Joe Wadlegger, plans to put her to work on the farm.