Skip to main content
Horizon School Division
Creating a better world, one student at a time.
News Item

May 18, 2018 - A Message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education

May 22, 2018

I trust everyone enjoyed the long weekend, taking advantage of the beautiful weather, relaxing, spending time with loved ones and enjoying a good book. As self-help author Alan Cohen once said, "There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither."

On Friday, our entire society was significantly impacted by the school shooting in Santa Fe. I know our entire Horizon family is mourning along with those family and friends who have been impacted by the tragedy. As Kevin Cameron reminds us, there is a significant amount of work we will need to do in our schools over the next few weeks and I thank each of you for the same. I think poet Anne Weems best captured the journey we experience in dealing with grief when she said, "In the godforsaken, obscene quicksand of life, there is a deafening alleluia rising from the souls of those who weep, and of those who weep with those who weep. If you watch, you will see the hand of God [whatever you perceive God to be] putting the stars back in their skies one by one".

Last week, I shared a memo with all staff, announcing that we are moving to Google Mail for all email, contacts, and calendars for students and staff in Horizon School Division. This is very exciting for our system, as the Google Mail platform offers a number of advantages over the Outlook system we currently have in place. Staff across our system has been utilizing a number of Google for Education applications in recent years, and moving our email, contacts and calendars into the Google for Education suite allows for streamlined workflow for staff. After a survey shared with all teachers in the fall of 2016, there was significant feedback in support of this direction. On the recommendation of Horizon's Teacher Efficacy and Workload Intensification Committee, we have begun transferring data from our Outlook accounts to the new Google Mail platform. This change will be completed on the week of June 4. Please visit for more information on this migration. We look forward to this exciting transition for Horizon.

I began this past week at George Gordon with several members of my leadership team before travelling to Raymore School to join Jolene Koopman, Cheryl Vertefeuille, Paul Crow-Buffalo, and Albert Pinacie from Horizon's Board of Education. We were happy to be in Raymore to present staff with a Celebration Day Lunch, which they won at Horizon's Celebration Day back in August. Raymore staff were provided a break from supervising students while they took the time to enjoy the lunch we provided. It was a wonderful afternoon and I know our Board appreciates greatly these opportunities to share in the lives and work going on in our schools.

Horizon's Wall of Fame Committee met at central office on Tuesday. The committee is made-up of Trustees, Jolene Koopman, Albert Pinacie, Christine Gradin, Sheryl Kayseas, Executive Assistant, Marni Sogge, Admin Assistant, Kim Loose, Communications Services Officer, Lance Hiltz, and myself. We had a very productive meeting and I am excited to share more about our selections for this year's Wall of Fame inductees as our 2018 Celebration Day draws closer.

My Director's Leadership Team of senior leadership and school administrators met for an in-person professional development session at the Humboldt Uniplex last Wednesday. This meeting continued our ongoing book study of The 7 Steps to Effective Instructional Leadership, by Elaine M. McEwan. We also reviewed a number of Human Resources case studies, presented by Deputy Director, Randy MacLEAN, and continued our exploration of Open Space Technology (OST) system for conducting effective meetings through purpose-driven leadership.

On Friday afternoon, Horizon's Superintendent of Finance Services/CFO, Marilyn Flaman, Manager of Payroll Services, Corinne Thoms, Supervisor of Literacy and Early Learning, Katherine Oviatt, and I travelled to Englefeld School to join in celebrating the career of Mrs. Patsy Knafelc who has announced her retirement after nearly 36 years. Patsy has dedicated her career as an educator to the betterment of her students and staff, and has done a tremendous job of serving as Principal of Englefeld School for the past 6 years. The celebration, which was led by the staff of Englefeld School, was a wonderful testament to the impact Patsy has had on her staff, her community, and her students. We wish you all the best for a long and happy retirement, Patsy.

Have a great week, everyone. Thank you for keeping "Horizon Strong".

- Kevin

Kevin C. Garinger, B.Ed, M.A.Ed
Director of Education/CEO
Horizon School Division No. 205