Wiikwemkoong Board of Education welcomes Mick Staruck as its new director of education

Mick Staruck has been a member of the Wiikwemkoong education family for more than a dozen years. He began as WBE’s education director this past Monday, March 1.

WIIKWEMKOONG – The Wiikwemkoong Board of Education (WBE) is pleased to announce that Mr. Michael (Mick) Staruck has been selected as the next director of education, effective Monday, March 1. The appointment follows a comprehensive search that attracted strong candidates from across Ontario and from within our community. 

Mr. Staruck has been part of the WBE education family for over 12 years, serving first as a high school principal, then principal of the First Nations Student Success Program, and for the past three years serving as systems principal and most recently, co-acting director of education. Prior to coming into the WBE education system, Mr. Staruck held numerous roles at the Eenchokay Birchstick School in Pikangikum First Nation Education Authority in Northwestern Ontario, including teacher for Kindergarten to Grade 12 and principal. Mr. Staruck has extensive knowledge about Ontario’s education systems, practices and more importantly a broad knowledge of the education needs of our community. He is a strong advocate for First Nations content and Anishinaabe land-based learning within school curriculum and the use of the Anishinaabemowin in all aspects of learning. 

“Mr. Staruck is widely respected throughout our education community for his commitment to leadership, professionalism and respect for our Anishinaabe values,” said Kevin Wassegijig, Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory director of operations. “The WBE was extremely impressed with Mr. Staruck’s commitment to the mission and vision statements of the WBE. Mr. Staruck is regarded for his cultural approach to education, also his ability to adapt to our staff and students needs which is crucial as we continue to navigate through the challenges and opportunities presented by distance learning due to COVID-19. Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory looks forward to working with Mr. Staruck, as we continue to build upon the WBE’s strong foundation of education excellence in our community. I would like to thank outgoing director of education Fay Zoccole for her years of service to the WBE. Her strong leadership, along with the innovation and dedication, has positioned the WBE to continue in the delivery of quality education, our students and families expect and deserve. I would also like to acknowledge the contributions of Mrs. Maureen Aiabens (senior business official and co-acting education director) and Ms. Marlene Kimewon (executive administrative assistant and structural readiness co-ordinator) during this transition.” 

Mr. Staruck holds a bachelor of education and a bachelor of arts degree from the University of Windsor, First Nation Schools and provincial principal qualifications and he is currently working on a master of education in educational leadership and policy from the University of Toronto. 

“I am grateful, honoured and humbled by the opportunity to serve the students, parents, staff and work with our community partners within Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory,” said Mr. Staruck. “I am excited for the opportunity to work with an exceptional senior administrative team and a dedicated education committee in continuing to support the students of Wiikwemkoong in their academic success guided by Anishinaabe world views. I am also looking forward to building upon the relationships I have been enriched by through our entire organization, and many of our community elders and knowledge keepers, since I began my education journey in Wiikwemkoong. I look forward to mobilizing many of the strategic goals and objectives in the arts, culture and education pillar of Wiikwemkoong’s strategic plan and ensuring that the Wiikwemkoong Board of Education’s strategic plan is closely aligned with these fundamental objectives. Chi-miigwech!”