Educational and Leadership Philosophy:

I believe in a balanced approach to education, which respects the necessity of building foundational skills such as literacy and numeracy while allowing for diverse ways to show learning, creative expression, and opportunities for the development of higher level thinking skills. Knowledge is not the primary goal of education but it is the necessary tool for thinking critically and making informed decisions. Knowledge and skills need to be taught with the goals of allowing students to make quality decisions and to act on them.

I believe that all students can learn; however, for varying reasons, some students come to school unprepared. Focussing efforts and resources on primary students can help many struggling learners catch up with their peers before they fall significantly behind. In order to allow students to catch up, remedial instruction and practise must be in addition to, not instead of, learning that takes place in the classroom. This can be achieved by carefully planning interventions so that students do not miss key instructional time in the classroom, by providing additional supports outside of regular instructional hours, and by targeting interventions so that they support rather than replace regular classroom instruction.

I believe that a strong academic focus needs to be balanced with a sense of fun and community. Individuals prosper only as members of a community. Schools need to be more than a place to sit while students listen to their teachers and complete worksheets. Schools need to be a place where students feel safe and where student learning is not compromised by being hungry, not having basic supplies, or not having other basic needs met.

In my experience, the principal sets the tone for the school. An energetic, involved and emotionally intelligent principal sets a high standard for staff engagement. When the principal leads by example, actively engaging with students and creating extracurricular activities, staff becomes more willing to provide additional opportunities for students as well. An open, honest communication style creates a school with a strong sense of community.

The principal should have a vision for the school and communicate and promote that vision with staff, students and parents. This vision should be a big picture of the direction that the school should be heading, informed by both the needs of the school and the goals of the district and province. This encourages distributed decision making while allowing the school to align itself with district and provincial educational goals.

True leadership is about power with people, not power over people. The job of the principal is to foster an atmosphere where every member of the school community is willing to take ownership of creating the best possible environment for students to thrive both academically and socially. Leadership is about helping people realize their potential, both as individuals and as members of the group.

School Vision:


Staff needs to work together as a team to improve student learning. Problems need to be dealt with directly, openly, and promptly. Through collective effort, staff contributes to improving the school for everyone. As autonomous professionals, teachers focus on professional development goals that benefit their own practise. When appropriate, I will incentivize the alignment of individual professional development with school goals, providing time and funds for activities that target agreed-upon school improvement goals.


Students must understand what is expected of them behaviorally and academically. They should see themselves as part of an inclusive school community, where they are physically and emotionally safe.


Parents need to know that their children are safe and learning. Parents must feel welcome in the school, that they can approach the staff, they will be treated respectfully, their input will be welcome, and their concerns will be addressed.


The role of the principal is to facilitate and lead school improvement. This is done by building leadership capacity in stakeholder groups, by creating opportunity for reflection, and ensuring focus on goals that move the school ahead. The principal leads by example, ensuring opportunities for students and providing supports for staff to do the same.


All stakeholders work to define acceptable behaviors and to set and achieve collective and individual goals.

Proactive Discipline

I prefer to reduce the likelihood of problems, rather than react to them. Collaboratively using observation, data and reflection, staff identify trouble areas and ameliorate them by altering the environment, policies and behaviors.

Mastery Learning

I believe that numeracy and literacy skills should be taught using a mastery learning approach. Students who have not achieved mastery of these skills need assistance in bringing them up to a level that allows them to achieve academic success.

Jacob Cowan

PO Box 1465

Hope, BC, V0X 1L0

Phone: (604) 869-0686



Profile of Qualifications:

I am a dedicated and motivated educator who works well with diverse student and adult populations. Over the past several years I have become a leader in the areas of technology education and advocating for diverse learners. I have created websites for several schools, and continue to help maintain and promote CE Barry Intermediate School’s website, Facebook page, and Twitter account. I set up and maintain Google Apps for Education for CE Barry Intermediate School, which allows students to share documents with other students and with their teachers. This allows students to access their files on any computer, and allows classrooms to go paperless, as files are stored and shared electronically. I am working on Google Educator Certification, and plan to complete the certification process by June of this year. I also help students and staff with technology deployment and support.

Over the past thirteen years I have worked with a diverse student population, including many First Nations students and families. As a special education teacher at CE Barry Intermediate School and an alternate education teacher at Two Rivers Education Centre I have worked collaboratively with teachers, administrators, special education assistants, child care counsellors, district staff, outside agencies and families to plan and deliver services to students with special needs and other academic and behavioral challenges. As an alternate education teacher, I currently work exclusively with students who require behavior support.

I have a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration, and I have experience as a principal. I have experience with teacher evaluation and supervision, having performed several teacher evaluations. I have also taken part in settling teacher discipline issues.

Leadership Vision:

The role of the principal is creating an environment where staff and students can realize their full potential. To achieve this, the principal needs to ensure that the entire school community can collaboratively direct change from an informed position. Staff needs to feel supported, so that they can direct their attention and energies toward creating the best possible learning environment. Students should feel a part of a community of learners where they are safe, they matter, and they can make a difference. Parents need to feel connected to the school, that they have meaningful input into their child’s education, and that their child is safe, engaged and learning.




Bachelor of Arts English major



Master of Education Educational Leadership



Bachelor of Education

University of British Columbia, UCC Cohort




Courses taken since graduation include:

Additional informal education :

Teaching Experiences:

2013-present: Alternate Education Teacher (Grade 8-10), Two Rivers Education Centre (TREC)


2009-2013: Special Education, CE Barry Intermediate School

2010-2013: Summer School teacher, Hope Secondary School

2007-2009: Grade 5/6, CE Barry Intermediate School

2006-2007: Principal, Hodgeville School, Chinook School Division

2005-2006: Grade 5/6, CE Barry Intermediate School

2003-2005: Kindergarten/Grade One, Boston Bar Elementary-Secondary School

2002-2003: Grade Five, Six, Seven Silver Creek Elementary School

2001-2002: Grade One, Two, Three, Yale Elementary School

2000-2001: Kindergarten, Coquihalla Elementary School

Employment History (non-teaching):

‘86 – Present: Professional Musician and Music Teacher

Jun. ‘01 – Sep. ‘10: Park Facility Operator, Gibson’s Pass Resort

Sep. ‘98 - Apr. ‘99: Web Designer, UCC Education Department 

Mar. '98 - Sep. '98: Library Page, Okanagan Regional Library

Apr. ‘97 - Sep. ‘98: Construction Site Laborer and Milker Hamid Saatchi's

         Dairy Farm, Salmon Arm

Sep. '96 - Apr. ‘97: Full Service Station Attendant, Petrocan, Rutland

May '95 - Sep. '95: Cook and Waiter, The K-Cafe, Keremeos

Oct. '93 - Jun. '96: Salesperson, The Hudson Bay Company, Victoria, Penticton and Kelowna

References available on request