St. Joseph's School | Smithers BC

About Us

Philosophy and Objectives 

St. Joseph’s School is committed to an educational program, which strives to provide academic excellence and to foster the total formation of the person.

We aim to integrate the different aspects of knowledge in the light of the teachings of Jesus Christ as taught and lived in the Roman Catholic Church.

We work to build an awareness of self within the community. We encourage and develop the growth of each person as a Christian.


St Joseph's is a Catholic School on the traditional territory of the Wet’suwet’en and part of the Diocese of Prince George's school system. The building of the school began in 1958 on two lots on First Avenue. When the school first opened, there were about 200 students, many from Witset.

The school building  remained unchanged until 1966 when there was the addition of two new classrooms and the hallway leading to the French room which housed showers, a nurse’s station, a classroom, and two washrooms. Read more.


Truth and Reconcilation

As part of the Diocese of Prince George, we share and stand by the words of Bishop Stephen Jensen who says in his 15 June 2021, "It was certainly wrong of the Church to cooperate in policies that aimed to deny native children their language and culture and destroyed their family life. Even worse, members of the Church committed abuse on innocent children entrusted to their care, which was an assault on the human dignity of these students. These crimes were a betrayal of the faith and the religious vows of the perpetrators...In the hope of contributing to that [reconciliation and healing], on behalf of the diocese I add my own sincere regret and apology to those who suffered and continue to suffer the effects of the residential schools and ask their forgiveness for our failures."

Going forward along with the bishop we and "The diocese remains committed to the path of reconciliation with those who have suffered and to a continuing dialogue with First Nations’ leadership". 

To report abuse please click here


As a staff, we are dedicated and committed to working with you to provide the best educational opportunities possible. It is our belief that each student is entitled to an environment and experiences that foster an education founded in Christ.

Our Staff

  • K – Mrs Cara Polanin
  • 1 – Ms Bev Dow (September to December) & Shannon Wellington (January onwards)
  • 2 – Ms Jen Mitchell
  • 3 – Mrs Liz Creyke
  • 4/5 – Mrs Lexie Wilson
  • 5/6 – Mrs Jean Garcia
  • 7 –  Mr Eric Gallivan & Mr Matthew Urquhart
  • Learning resource – Mrs Karen Keumper and Mr Matthew Urquhart
  • French, library and bookkeeping – Ms Christine Tessier
  • Music – Mr Colin Maskell
  • Primary PE & support – Mrs Jill McDonald
  • Education assistants – Ms Joanne Boot, Ms Margaret Buenten, Mr Jake Currie, Ms Cathy Doyle, Ms Stacey Price, Mrs Debbie Leach, Mrs Kristin Roodzant, Ms Nancy Verbeek, Ms Jessica Vinnish, Mrs Shanualea Vliegenthart
  • School administrative assistants – Mrs Arlene McGibbon & Mrs Emily Pelzer
  • After school care – Jadyn Gorbahn 
  • Facilities – Mr Michel Bernier
  • Principal: Mr Hayden Drygas 

School Council
  • School Council Members: 
  • Chairperson: Donna Schibli
  • Secretary: Linda Rosner
  • Treasurer: Bina Tucker 
  • Member at large: Anne Griffith 
  • Pastor: Fr Jack Michalchuk
Parent Support Group

Every parent is a member of the PSG. The PSG is active in the school, running a weekly hot lunch program and spearheading initiatives such as playground improvement and purchases of classroom resources. Interested?

This year’s PSG executive:
  • Chairperson:  Julie Chaplin
  • Vice Chairperson: Leanne Helkenberg
  • Secretary: Kylee Arpin 
  • Treasurer: Seonaid Davis
  • Hot Lunch Coordinator: Melissa Bennett and Brett Tolton 

St. Joseph's Church

Link to St. Joseph's Parish webpage here...

Diocese of Prince George