New EMCS principal, Laura Fulton, is excited to get to know students, parents, staff, and members of the community as she starts her position in Sooke. (Dawn Gibson/Sooke News Mirror)

Sooke high school welcomes new principal

Laura Fulton was formerly vice principal at Belmont High and Spencer Middle schools

Edward Milne Community School has a new principal.

Laura Fulton replaces Pat Swinburnson, who retired in December.

Sooke School District superintendent Jim Cambridge said Fulton was hired from three “outstanding candidates” and believes she’ll be a great match for EMCS.

“Laura has lots of experience in secondary schools, and she is very community-minded so I think she is well suited for Sooke,” Cambridge said.

“I also think she will follow up on some great leadership from the past. Pat Swinburnson was a great principal, and Laura will continue on his legacy.”

Fulton grew up in Hamilton, Ont., and studied international and community development at Trent University, before taking her degree in education at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont.

“It has always been kind of a natural pathway for me to work in education,” said Fulton, who worked as a camp leader and educator growing up.

Early in her career, Fulton travelled to Australia to teach, where she stayed for three years before deciding to move to Vancouver Island.

She loves to hike, be outdoors, and garden, so the Island seemed a perfect fit for her lifestyle.

Since moving here, she completed a master’s degree in educational leadership at the University of Victoria, and worked at various teaching and administration jobs, including vice-principal at Belmont High School, as well as a vice-principal at Spencer Middle School, in Langford.

“I’ve been a school administrator for over 10 years, but this will be my first job as principal,” Fulton said.

RELATED: Final Projects Night at EMCS to feature art, drama, and film students’ work

She decided to apply for the position in Sooke, because she liked the small-town community feel throughout the municipality and the school.

“Sooke is such a phenomenal, lovely, and caring community,” Fulton said. “I already find the students are really thoughtful, and there is such a sense of pride both within the school and out in the community.”

She visited EMCS a number of times in the fall, and was impressed by the dedication of the staff and students to their school.

“I’m very excited to be here, and I’m really looking forward to getting to know people,” Fulton said.

“I would love to hear from students, parents, staff, and community members, about what their wishes are, and what they think makes EMCS great so we can build on those strengths. I would love for the future of the school to be a collaborative vision.”

Fulton encourages everyone to come to the open house at EMCS on Feb 22, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., where residents get a chance to meet her, share ideas, and see the variety of programs offered at the school.

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