I remember back when I was a little kid how happy I was when June rolled around. June was full of the excitement of field trips, sports days and the anticipation of an entire summer spent playing outside with my friends.
When I got older, my simplistic delight at the end of the school year turned into a complicated mix of emotion; I still looked forward to the summer, but I soon faced studying, final exams, yearbook signings, graduations and saying farewell to good friends as we headed out in different directions to begin new adventures.
Fast-forward 32 years and the end of the school year remains a time of bittersweet emotion for myself and for many educators. For, although we look forward to the warm summer sunshine and more time spent with loved ones, each year we face those inevitable and difficult goodbyes, to the students we have come to know and love and to our colleagues who are moving on to different schools or who have chosen to retire to new adventures once again.
Seven years ago, I began my own new adventure when I moved from school principal to Division Office and became a member of the College of Alberta School Superintendents (CASS). Since its inception in 1963 CASS, which is divided into 6 geographic zones, has worked to strengthen Alberta’s education system. The southern Alberta school jurisdictions are part of Zone 6 (CASSIX). I feel very fortunate, as a member of CASS, to have strong working relationships with many great school division leaders from across the province, but I truly treasure the network of division leaders from Zone 6. Since I first began attending CASSIX meetings in 2012, I have been in awe of these great leaders. I have witnessed their firm commitment to students along with their unwavering passion toward public education. I continue to appreciate their insight and understanding of complex educational issues. I value their mentorship and encouragement and will sorely miss the opportunity to collaborate with those who are retiring and moving on to new experiences this year.
In 2019, CASSIX will lose more than 250 years of educational knowledge, experience and wisdom with the retirement of seven of its members. As the end of the school year approaches, it is with mixed emotions that I thank Joe Colistro (Medicine Hat Catholic), Lorelie Lenour (Holy Spirit), Brian Macaulay (Holy Spirit), Dr. Nolan Olsen (Westwind), Danny Roberts (Livingstone Range), Ken Sommerfeldt (Westwind), and, later this year, Chris Smeaton (Holy Spirit), for your countless contributions to high quality education in Alberta. Your excellent leadership throughout your careers has helped shape education in this province and made it one of the best education systems in the world. Your mentorship to CASSIX members, school administrators and teachers will leave a legacy of inspiration and competence for future leaders that will benefit students for years to come. I wish you all the best in your retirement.
Written by Darryl Seguin, Superintendent of Schools
Reprinted with permission of The Lethbridge Herald