Chris Kennedy oversees nearly 1,100 staff and a $62 million budget as the head of West Vancouver’s largest employer: West Vancouver School District (WVSD).
His rapid rise in school administration has seen him bounce early in his career from being a classroom teacher to be a high school vice-principal and, soon afterward, an elementary school principal.
Macleans featured him as one of the 100 people to watch in the new millennium.
“By the time I was 30 years old, I was principal of Riverside Secondary School in Coquitlam,” he said. “I understand that I’m now the youngest school district superintendent in the country.”
WVSD lured Kennedy from his post at Riverside in the fall of 2007, when he was 34 years old. He became assistant superintendent.
Two years later, the superintendent announced he was retiring and the school district held a competition for the job.
Part of the process included the district giving each candidate a question one hour before the interview.
Long known for being an avid technology advocate, Kennedy put the question out on Twitter and waited for input from followers.
“That modelled the changing way we’re collecting information and made the case that they should care less about what I know than if I can find the very best information and make sense of it for our community,” he said.
Kennedy has coached high school basketball, bringing Richmond’s Hugh McRoberts Secondary School’s team to the No. 4 rank in the province in 1998.
Outside work, he is active as a speaker at events hosted by other school districts or TEDxUBC. He and his wife have four childen. •