Students graduating from Sargent Park School often say, "Once a Flame, always a Flame," but Fatima Mota is finding herself repeating the same thing.
Mota was the principal at SPS for the past 12 years, but moved on to become the Winnipeg School Division’s superintendent for schools in the north district starting Jan. 27.
Taking her place is former Lord Nelson School principal Luba Krosney, who will become Sargent Park’s new principal on Feb. 4.
"Having been there for 12 years, I never wanted to leave," Mota said. "But at the same time, we have to come to terms at some time, we do need to evolve."
Mota explained to the students at SPS that her job switch from principal to superintendent was a lot like moving up a grade level.
"You finish Grade 5 and you need to move on to Grade 6, no matter how much you liked your Grade 5 class," Mota said.
Mota was sent off to her new position with many festivities with SPS students, staff, and parents. She said the most touching event was a huge assembly, during which everyone dressed in the school’s colours — green and yellow. There were speeches, performances, and presentations dedicated to and in honour of Mota.
"It was very emotional," Mota said.
Mota started one of her first days as superintendent interviewing potential principals to take Krosney’s place.
Krosney expressed the same feelings as Mota, saying that after eight years as principal for Lord Nelson School, it was time for a change, regardless of the emotional goodbyes that come with it.
"It’s been a mixture of different emotions. Bittersweet is the word," Krosney said. "I’m excited to be going (to Sargent Park), but sad to leave the connections I’ve made and work I’ve done up to this point."
Krosney said prior to fully settling into her new position at SPS, she has been visiting the school "in bits and pieces", getting to know the staff and students.
"It’s a big school, so it’s not as easy to get around as (Lord Nelson)," Krosney said, noting that SPS has students from Nursery to Grade 9, while Lord Nelson has students from Nursery to Grade 6.
Mota said one of her duties as superintendent would be to visit schools in the north district, learning about their initiatives and getting to know the teachers and students as well as the community as a whole. However, she said she’ll try to stop by SPS once in a while.
"I’d love to visit. I left in the middle of the year, so they have asked me to return and attend some of the year-end activities," Mota said.
"She is always welcome to come back," Krosney said.