When the final bell rings for this school year at Penticton Secondary, it will also be ringing for a long-time member of the South Okanagan educational community.
Bill Bidlake, who has been principal at Pen High since the rebuilt school opened in 2008, will be retiring, effective July 31, 2012. Bidlake has been a fixture of the Okanagan Skaha School system for nearly two decades, have served as principal at Princess Margaret, Summerland and McNicoll Park Junior secondary schools.
On Aug. 1, Alan Stel will be taking over as principal at Pen High. For the past five years, Stel has worked as a principal at Clearwater Secondary School in the Kamloops Thompson school district.
But Stel also has significant experience working in the South Okanagan. Prior to joining the staff at Clearwater Secondary, Stel was vice-principal at South Okanagan Secondary School for a year and at Similkameen Elementary Secondary School for four years, which are both in the Okanagan Similkameen school district.
Stel started his career 11 years earlier, teaching English at SESS for a decade and Alternate Education in School District No. 16 (Keremeos) for a year.
Stel has a Master of Education in Curriculum and Leadership from Gonzaga State University and completed both a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature, with a sociology minor and the Professional Development Program, specializing in elementary (intermediate) education while studying at the University of British Columbia.