Before I begin my short address, I would like to introduce the leaders of our employment groups: President of the local ATA, John Templin, CUPE 1825 Jane Meeker and representing CUPE 290, Robert Reid. Thank you for your service to not only your respective organizations but to Holy Spirit Catholic School Division as a whole.
While most of you know my love of a microphone and a crowd, we are recognizing four Share the Mission Award winners today, lunch is scheduled for noon and we have training back at the board office at 1:00 PM and therefore my comments will be very brief.
I want to begin by welcoming back all of our staff and welcoming all of our new staff to Holy Spirit. I hope you had a great summer, whether it be connecting with family, travelling, studying or just doing a “staycation” like I did. Regardless, I hope that you are well rested and feeling a sense of great enthusiasm and excitement as we begin 2018-19.
Those who work close to me saw a person who ended the school year a bit jaded because of decisions made and conditions set that were beyond my control. I got sucked into a vortex of frustration, with maybe a little anger and I was definitively negative. Not necessarily the person I want to be or the leader that you deserve. Obviously some time spent with our grandchildren helped my mood but I think the real shift came while sitting in church this summer and watching some of our own students with their parents. I realized, (after God smacked me across the head), that this work that I do is not about me and it is also not about government decisions or policies or anything else; its about them…the children, our students! And that is what it is about for all of us, no matter your position in the division.
I made a conscious decision that day when I left church that my frustration wouldn’t rule my world and cause me to forget that it is always about the students in our schools.
When our students walk back into our schools and buildings next Tuesday we need to remind ourselves that our three priorities and therefore our focus must be on achieving our goals of faith, literacy/numeracy and First Nations, Metis and Inuit learning. Leave the noise behind and shut out the clutter because if we continue to build on what we’ve done in the last 2 years, our students will continue to benefit from our laser focus.
We are not perfect, we all have flaws that we will always need to work on but I’d put us up against any other school division. As I said yesterday at our new teacher orientation, we may be the best kept secret in Southern Alberta because by and large, you (all of you) do just what you are supposed to do and with little to no fanfare. I continue to be so proud to lead this Holy Spirit community and am so very grateful to be able to witness day in and day out the commitment of each of you to the students in our system.
May God bless you in your work this year. May you continue to walk in holiness and may you share your holiness with your school community each and every day!