As I enter my final month as an educator, before I retire, I have some final thoughts and reflections. I have spent 50 years in education, 19 as a student and 31 as an educator. I have worked 9 years in the elementary panel, including my six as principal of Burkevale, and 22 years in the secondary panel. I have taught in every grade from 4 to 13, and worked in 5 different schools and 4 different school boards. I have wonderful memories from each stop along my career path.
For 21 years in York Region, I was able to teach at schools, and help my wife of 31 years raise our two boys, in an area that is rich in its cultural traditions and diversity. The last 10 years in Simcoe County and Penetanguishene, has enabled me to play a greater volunteer and leadership role in a close-knit community.
At each of my educational stops I have had the privilege of working with fellow educators and support workers, who were dynamic and inspiring. Once retired, I hope to reconnect with a number of them to rekindle our friendship.
I consider my last six years, as the principal of Burkevale Protestant Separate School, the pinnacle of my career. I feel honoured to have had the opportunity to be part of a school and board with such a rich history and fine reputation. There are few other principal positions like it around. And while working as a principal at a single-school board can have some unique challenges not found in larger boards, I have many fond memories that I will cherish forever from my time at Burkevale.
Some of my goals when I first came here were to bring energy and excitement to Burkevale, enhance its standing in the community and improve communication between the school and our parents. I feel that has happened as our multitude of special events, guest speakers, performances, and connections to our community partners, such as Bayfield House, the museum and library, illustrate. Academically, our students continue to excel as our steady rise in EQAO scores indicates. The last 6 years we have received regular recognition in the press and communication wise, the Bulldog Bulletin and synrevoice announcements have proven indispensible.
Without question, what I will miss the most about my career are the students. They kept me motivated over the years and positively influenced me as much as I have influenced them. Burkevale students now have a special place in my heart.
And finally, I am pleased to announce that Ms. Julia McLaren, current Burkevale teacher, will be the new principal starting in September. She is an excellent educator and individual who will ensure Burkevale remains strong and vibrant.
I look forward to “the bend in the road” that my retirement represents. I plan to golf, travel, and volunteer among things. I appreciate the support that the board, staff, students and parents have given me over the years. It’s been fun. Thank you.