The origins of the Kimberley Independent School began in the winter of 2008 when a new couple arrived in Kimberley, by the names of Ursula Salotto and Shawn Powell. They were both teachers who had been working in England. Ursula was originally from South Africa and Shawn hailed from Canada but their career paths found them teaching together in England for several years. They decided to move to Canada and fell in love with Kimberley during their travels and decided to make it home.
Ursula had a long-time dream of starting a small independent school. After speaking with various people in the community about her idea, having several meetings and assessing the support that was present to begin her venture.
A small staff was hired and the mountains of formal application work and licensing procedures were undertaken prior to opening the school to ensure that all legal and Ministry of Education requirements were met. The school formally began by forming the Kimberley Independent School Society which was incorporated under the Society Act of British Columbia. The school opened its doors for its first school year in September 2008 with a handful of children enrolled. In a few short years, the school achieved Class one Independent School status by meeting all inspection requirements. This qualified the school for the maximum funding available from the provincial government, which is 50% of the funding per student provided to public schools.
It was privately owned and rented to KIS for the first five years and then was purchased by the Society in the spring of 2013. Since purchase, many renovations were done to accommodate the continued growth with new students.
Ursula's vision of providing an educational experience with small classes, an inclusive family atmosphere and teaching to the needs of each child resonated with many families resulting in KIS continuing to grow over the years with a current enrollment of 102 students in grades prekindergarten to 6.
Shawn and Ursula decided to return to England after four years in Kimberley, with the satisfaction of knowing that KIS was now established. Ursula was succeeded by Jennifer Roberts, Cal Johnson, Scott McInnis and now currently Kari Johnston as principal.
The hard work and dedication of the administrative and teaching staff, provide innovative ideas on how to expand the school and build a strong program at KIS.
The school continues to grow and develop, and find its niche in the community through the dedicated efforts of the outstanding staff, administration, board of directors and parent body. All of these groups work together to create the best possible educational experience for the children who thrive and learn at the Kimberley Independent School.