LAKELAND – Lakeland Catholic School Division (LCSD) has found their new deputy superintendent.
The division announced earlier this month that Chantel Axani had been appointed to the role effective Aug. 2. Axani will be taking over the position that was vacated by Pamela Guilbault, who was appointed superintendent to replace retiring superintendent Joe Arruda.
“I’m so thrilled and excited to step into this role and work alongside superintendent Pamela Guilbault,” Axani told Lakeland This Week.
When asked why she put her name forward for the position, Axani said she thought she could bring a unique perspective to the role.
“I have spent my entire teaching career at Lakeland Catholic. I started teaching at the elementary level and became a vice-principal at an elementary school and was lucky enough to become a principal at a high school,” she recalled. “I felt that my range of experience with (Kindergarten) through to Grade 12, along with my dedication and love of the district, I wanted to step up, apply, and see if I can serve this district and staff from a different perspective from that position.”
Axani was born and raised in the City of Cold Lake. It was there that she knew that she wanted to go into the education field from a young age.
“I just knew that I wanted to be a teacher and I was always interested in it. When I was in high school, I did work experience and I was able to work in classrooms in different schools in the area,” she noted. “Then I took a year off after high school and I became a student assistant, actually in Lakeland Catholic schools. I was a student assistant at Assumption (Jr./Sr. High School) and St. Dominic (Elementary School). That just reaffirmed the fact that I needed to go into teaching and there was never a question that teaching was what I was meant to do.”
After receiving a Bachelor of Education degree from the University of Alberta in 2006, Axani came back to teach at LCSD and later completed a Master of Education in Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning with a specialization in Assessment from the University of Calgary in 2012.
The 15 years that Axani has worked for LCSD has seen her take on a number of roles, including her most recent one as principal at Assumption.
It’s Axani’s background in curriculum and instruction that Gauilbault believes will assist her in serving the division.
“She is a dedicated servant leader who is faith filled and inspired to create positive changes in students,” she said in a statement.
Axani said her favourite part of every job she’s held with the division is ‘interacting with the students.’
“That’s the best part of any position that I’ve held. I love interacting with students, building relationships, supporting them, and just seeing them find success in their own unique ways,” she expressed.
Although Axani will be sad to bid Assumption School farewell this summer, she will still be a visitor as a parent. Her son, Cohen, is enrolled at the facility in the French Immersion program.
“My love for Lakeland Catholic is the feeling of family that you get when you enter the building of any of our schools,” she said. “That we have teachers and support staff that are proud to support kids and really work to nurture all of the aspects of a student. Their emotional, academic, social, and faith. All of those different types of facets of a student, our staff work to support and encourage them to meet their full potential.”
The part of the deputy superintendent position Axani is looking forward to most is building relationships throughout the division.
“I’m so fortunate to be involved in so many schools but, in this role, I look forward to building relationships with the students and staff in the buildings, getting to know our parents and stakeholders in this different role, and just supporting teachers and students to the best of my ability in this new position.”
Arruda said in a press release that he believes Axani and Guilbault “will make an exceptional team who will serve the students, parents, and staff of Lakeland Catholic community in excellence to ensure their academic, spiritual, emotional, and intellectual needs are met and exact our mission with Christ as our model and children as our focus.”