Now in his eleventh year at the helm of Garden Valley School Division, Superintendent Vern Reimer has announced that he will be retiring effective July 31, 2018.
Reimer made the official announcement at the October 10 GVSD Board Meeting, and the Board will immediately begin the process of recruiting a replacement. Board Chair Laurie Dyck offered thanks on behalf of the board for the many years of exemplary service provided by Mr. Reimer to GVSD, as well as congratulations and best wishes on his pending retirement.
Reimer's career in GVSD spans 32 years, 24 of them in an administrative role. He began in 1986, when he was hired full-time to teach grade 5 and physical education at Plum Coulee School. The early years at Plum Coulee included teaching students at Gnadenthal and the Hutterite Colony, and also the establishment of a guidance program at Plum Coulee. Reimer joined the staff of Parkland School in 1991 as a physical education teacher, and moved into the principalship of Parkland three years later. He served as the principal of Parkland School for 10 years, followed by 3 years as the GVSD Assistant Superintendent.
"Leadership has always been about relationships first," says Reimer, who has led the division as Superintendent since 2007. Creating a culture of trust in the school division has been a priority for him. "It's about changing how leaders interact with other people--from a base of humility rather than a base of power." For Reimer, the role of Superintendent has always been about ensuring that everyone can do their job so that children can learn. "It's about recognizing that the job is always bigger than what one person can handle," he says, "and always relying on the team."
For Reimer, serving others has always been at the heart of any new administrative "doors" that have opened for him. He believes in being faithful to what you're given. "If you're wanting to serve," he says, “then in obedience there's blessing."
Reflecting on divisional challenges during his tenure as Superintendent, he recalls how the community's initial rapid growth stage resulted in a real need for educational space. "Taking the long view," says Reimer, is a key lesson learned during challenging times. "You don't give up on people, and how you do things with people is very important," he says. Reimer believes that treating people with respect and working from a base of equity has served the division well, both locally and provincially. Growth and the opening of four new schools, two under Reimer's leadership as Superintendent, has provided many opportunities to demonstrate the value of working from a base of excellence and integrity.
When asked about his future plans, Reimer believes that "if you're willing to serve, opportunities will come." He looks forward to enjoying retirement with his wife and spending more time visiting with his children and eight grandchildren.