News

Darren Duff new principal at SCS; Alison High heads to VHSS

Jacob Robinson

By Jacob Robinson, Simcoe Reformer

Darren Duff is the new principal at Simcoe Composite School. Duff was most recently at Paris District, and replaces Alison High, who has moved to Valley Heights Secondary. JACOB ROBINSON/Simcoe Reformer

Darren Duff is the new principal at Simcoe Composite School. Duff was most recently at Paris District, and replaces Alison High, who has moved to Valley Heights Secondary. JACOB ROBINSON/Simcoe Reformer

SIMCOE - 

Things have come full circle for a pair of area educators.

Alison High and Darren Duff were members of the Grand Erie District School Board's principal shuffle for the 2017-18 year. After spending the last four years at the helm of Simcoe Composite School, High returns to Valley Heights Secondary where she once roamed the halls as a student.

As for Duff, he takes over for High in Simcoe, the same place he worked as a vice principal a decade ago.

“It's like coming back to another home. I hope everyone here is as excited as I am to be back,” Duff said.

“A lot of the staff are similar, there is some new staff I haven't met yet. ... As far as the school, the lockers are new so I've seen some facility upgrades. The school is looking good in that sense.”

Having worked at a handful of Grand Erie facilities, Duff said there's a vibe at SCS that differentiates it from the others.

“I think it's the staff and the students and the community support that they have here,” he explained. “You have the Lions (Auditorium) in the gym and just the support from the community – there's lots of pride in the building and lots of pride in the school.”

When Duff, who was most recently at Paris District, first arrived at SCS he worked alongside High's mother, then-principal Helene High. Helene died at the age of 63 in 2010.

During her four years at SCS, Alison High got the opportunity to carry on her mother's legacy.

“My mom had some pretty big shoes (to fill) there,” High noted. “She was a very big supporter of the school and the school community ... she always talked very fondly of Simcoe and of the community there and the staff.

“So many people there remembered her in a very positive way and that was nice. That was comforting,” she added.

Now High returns to the Valley, where Purple Pride still very much exists.

“It's really, really exciting,” High said. “At least one of my high school teachers is still a staff member and just walking through the halls, there have been some changes, but a lot of things are still the same too. I have so many great, great memories from high school.”

The VHSS pre-registration night brought out many of High's former classmates as their children handed in their course selections.

“There's was lots of catching up, lots of smiles,” she said.

In many ways, High said she's always been tied to VHSS. Now she'll be there on a daily basis.

“I was a cheerleader there and helped with student's council and those are really awesome memories that I have of high school,” she said. “It's always had that place in my heart so I'm super excited to be back.”

Other principal changes within the board include Griffin Cobb as acting principal, replacing Lynn Abbey at Delhi District Secondary School. Stephen Wills will take on vice principal duties.

Within the Brant-Haldimand-Norfolk Catholic District School Board, former St. Cecilia principal Bill Acres transferred to Sacred Heart in Langton. Heidi Pasztor will replace Acres in Port Dover.

jrobinson@postmedia.com