Where has the year gone? I ask myself this question about this time every year. It reminds me that the work done in education is akin to a sprint more often than a marathon. We hunker down in late August and barely look up until the end of the school year. It also reminds me that when you love what you do and are passionate about what you do, the work just seems to fly by. That doesn’t mean that fatigue doesn’t set in at times in the year; it is difficult to always be in sprint mode! Society in general has a work/life balance issue and education is no different. Fortunately, we have some time in the summer to allow ourselves to rest and rejuvenate. I know that I’m very much looking forward to some holiday time this summer too!
This year has been another success for Holy Spirit. We continue to offer high quality Catholic Education and excel in our innovative and creative practices. I’m always amazed at how often we are provincially recognized and yet seem to fly under the radar in our own communities. The great work that goes on in our division may be taken for granted by some but I do not! It is not that the job of Superintendent of Schools is easy but when you surround yourself with excellence, from the board office to the schools, it is certainly easier! To that end, I would like to thank the following for contributing to the success of our division.
- St. Basil Catholic Education Centre Staff– Each day, I work with a group of individuals committed to making Holy Spirit a great place to work. Often, these people do their jobs without any fanfare and with little recognition. Their work is often behind the scenes! Yet, when there is a need, they are always ready to extend a helping hand to our schools, our parents and our communities. There is no doubt that a large part of the reason for my extreme contentment with this position is because of the people I work with.
- School Leaders– It is pretty easy to create a risk taking environment and to have a million and one ideas but to operationalize it, is a different story. Our school leaders do just that! Holy Spirit administrators put into practice what is desirable for our division and requested by the province. They make decisions and sometimes, what are very tough decisions, on what is best for our students day in and day out! Their ability to work with staff, students, parents and the community they serve is a blessing. I am truly grateful for their continued dedication to our division.
- Teachers– Nobody knows the life of a teacher unless you have taught. We often do not know the impact of teachers on our students. Our students are well cared for and highly educated by our teachers. It is why we are continually recognized provincially. It is always a great source of pride when I walk into our classrooms and see teachers modeling lifelong learning as they engage in new instructional practices; where they are challenging their own paradigms and continuing to hone their professional craft. They care deeply for our students and for that I am most appreciative.
- Support Staff– School systems do not become excellent without a myriad of supports. Our support staff provides exemplary service to our students, our teachers and our schools. The cheerful voice on the phone, the work with our FNMI students, the counselling of our students and work with families all contribute to an excellent system. Clean schools, early learning, student assistance and administrative support all demonstrate a commitment to our students on a daily basis. Often this work is overlooked and yet without it, Holy Spirit would just be an ordinary system. Thank you for your work!
- Parents– Parents are the first educators! To all those parents who are actively engaged with their child’s education, a big thank you! We know that when parents and teachers are on the same team, working together, collaborating and communicating, students benefit. I also have special appreciation to all of those parents involved in school council. Your time commitment is most appreciated as you work for not only your own children but for all children in your school community. Parents, thank you for the honor of educating your children in Holy Spirit.
- Parishes– Each year, the partnership with our local parishes continues to become stronger. Our parish priests and workers continue to be more visible in our schools and more available for support. Few know your intensely busy schedule but we are most thankful that you continue to carve out time to spend in our schools and support to our division.
- Board of Trustees– In October, school board elections will be held and I’m unaware of who of our current trustees will be seeking re-election. As a superintendent, who is the board’s only employee that is a frightening thought! I say that because of the positive relationship that has been built with our trustees over their term. Our trustees, allow both myself and the rest of senior administration to do our job without micromanaging and they are a force in their political realm. I truly value their support and appreciate their desire for me to be accountable. They are truly are committed to Catholic education in Holy Spirit and have served their communities well during their term.
Next year will be one of many changes. We have a number of new administrators in the division and we say goodbye to some special people. To all of our retirees, I say thank you for creating a wonderful legacy. You have made a positive impact on the lives of so many children during your career. To those leaving our system, I wish you the best of luck in your new surroundings. May God continue to bless you in your work!
I again say thank you to everyone within Holy Spirit for contributing to another successful year. I am blessed to lead a faith based organization that is committed to living out our mission and forwarding our vision! Have a wonderful summer- get some rest, spend time with family and friends and relax! God Bless!