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Callaghan retiring from CRPS

The superintendent of Canadian Rockies Public Schools is retiring after 22 years with the school district. Brian Callaghan announced his retirement, Tuesday (Nov. 8) at a special meeting of the CRPS board.

The superintendent of Canadian Rockies Public Schools is retiring after 22 years with the school district.

Brian Callaghan announced his retirement, Tuesday (Nov. 8) at a special meeting of the CRPS board.

He said it is time for him to move on after more than two decades of service in the Bow Valley and at the end of the school year he will pass the torch to a new administrator.

“I think it is time,” Callaghan said. “I have done my best work with my community and watched the Bow Valley grow.”

His greatest achievement, he said, has been building quality schools and working with staff to implement changes that significantly improve instruction.

He said the fact CRPS students are at the higher echelons in the province, which is the highest achieving in the country, reflects the work everyone in CRPS has been a part of.

“That is a precursor for young people to follow their hopes and dreams,” he said.

He said it is unusual for a superintendent to stay with a district as long as he has. But he has been part of the community, raising four children in the valley, and watching over almost an entire generation of children move through the school system.

Callaghan said it has been a joy for him to know children from the time they were born to when they graduate high school.

CRPS chair Kim Bater said Callaghan’s leadership will be missed and he leaves a legacy of caring and learning that has influenced students, staff, parents and members of the community, especially with the inspiring hearts and minds process over the last several years.

“Brian put his heart and soul over the last four years into working with us and previous board members and staff to create a vision for where education could be and should be,” Bater said.

Callaghan took over the position in 1994 when the Banff, Mount Rundle and Exshaw school districts were regionalized. He oversaw the bringing together of students, staff and various departments.

“Brian’s biggest accomplishment is the relationships he has built over his years in the Bow Valley,” Bater said. “He is well known by former students who remain in the valley and his staff praise the way he engages as a compassionate and knowledgeable leader.”

Callaghan said he is proud of helping build three schools in the district and revitalizing two.

But as he sat in his office looking out at the new daycare under construction, which would not be possible without CRPS working with the Town of Canmore, he knew the time had come.

Part of his work over the past several years has been the inspiring hearts and minds process, where the community was engaged with a school district receptive to new ideas in education.

“It gave us a common language around which we could talk about the focus of our work on the life of a child,” he said.

The biggest challenge in his tenure, he said, has been securing resources for the schools in the district and building many of the facilities.

“I have felt we have been financially challenged for several years and it puts limits on how far you should dream,” he said. “Often we have had to fundraise for support materials to go into the great schools we have built.”

He added he is hopeful under a new premier the school board will be able to plan and budget over a three-year period instead of the usual one-year budget.

“I am hopeful the premier, in promising a three-year funding model, will allow us the ability to plan,” he said.

However, he said, the quality of an organization like a public school district is determined by its people and he is confident CRPS is in good hands going into the future.

Retirement may not be a total reprieve, as Callaghan has agreed to consult for the Alberta School Boards Association.

The school board said a public forum will be held to recognize Callaghan’s years of service during this school year.

Bater said the recruitment process to find a new superintendent will begin with the school councils, staff and educational leadership team putting together an ideal candidate profile by the end of the month.

After that, advertising and recruitment will take place until the end of January with a new superintendent expected to be in place over summer in time for the next school year.

Rocky Mountain Outlook

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