Mental Health Services and Safe Schools

The Kootenay Lake School District is pleased to announce the hiring of two new positions within the District that reflect the Board’s commitment to providing greater mental health services for all students and staff.

An important topic that emerged out of the District’s budgeting process last spring revealed considerable consensus around the need to continue investing in additional mental health supports and resources for both students and staff.

The positions are a Coordinator of School Mental Health and Addictions and a Manager of Safe Schools.

Ben Eaton, Director of Innovative Learning comments, “The need for additional support in schools was brought to us by all of our partner groups, and the timing aligns with the District’s readiness to make a real impact when it comes to supporting inclusive mental health services and safe schools.”

School District 8 believes that Social and emotional skills are key human capabilities that allow individuals to manage their emotions, work with others, and achieve their goals. They are crucial for the wellbeing and success of every child and adult, and for the future of our societies and economies. 

Coordinator of School Mental Health and Addictions - Javier Gonzalez

Javier Gonzalez will take on the position of Coordinator of School Mental Health and Addictions this fall. Javier has been working with children youth and adults in the human services field for over 18 years. With a bachelor in Social Work, post bachelors Child Welfare Specialization from UBCO and Masters of Art in Counselling Psychology from Gonzaga University, he is passionate about mental health and wellness.

Javier comes with a variety of experiences including working with First Nations on and off reserve, public speaking, experienced Regional Team Lead with a demonstrated history of working in the mental health care industry. Skilled in Negotiation, Analytical Skills, Customer Service, Cross-functional Team Leadership and working in collaboration with multiple stakeholders in project development and management.

Javier’s interest is in supporting the Social and Emotional Learning of all students through supporting teachers, students, parents and staff to increase mental fitness. The Coordinator of School Mental Health and Addictions position will service all schools within the Kootenay Lake School District.

Manager of Safe Schools - Scott Rothermel

Kootenay Lake School District also welcomes Retired Constable Scott Rothermel as the Manager of Safe Schools to the District this fall.  The Manager of Safe Schools is a district leadership position working directly to support safety with students in all schools.  Previously, Scott was the Safe School Coordinator for the Sooke School District.

In this new role for our District, Scott will provide leadership in: Violent Risk Assessments, Critical Incident Response management, crime prevention, safety education, digital investigations and mediation between school staff, students and parents. It is also a role that engages with outside agencies such as the RCMP, Ministry of Children and Family Development and community health partners.

Scott has also been a facilitator for the provincial ERASE strategy since 2012. As a provincial facilitator with Safer Schools, Scott provides Basic Threat Assessment, Safe and Caring Schools, and Digital Threat Assessment trainings. He consults provincially on high profile school based incidents that require liaising directly with school district administration, law enforcement and community partners.

Scott is also the recipient of the RCMP Award of Valour – the highest policing award in British Columbia (2014) and the RCMP Commanding Officer’s Commendation (2015). Scott is currently enrolled in the Masters of Conflict Analysis and Management at Royal Roads University (completion 2020). 

For more information:

Ben Eaton, Director of Innovative Learning
beaton@sd8.bc.ca