Divisional colleagues, friends and family gathered at NPC on Tuesday, May 29 to honour GVSD Superintendent Vern Reimer, who is retiring in July 2018. The celebration event, organized by the GVSD Board of Trustees, offered an opportunity for the community to thank Reimer for his leadership and to recognize his 32 years of service in GVSD.
Board Chair Laurie Dyck welcomed everyone to the celebration, and began what would be an evening of storytelling and gratitude. Borrowing a golfing metaphor from Reimer, who's an avid golfer, Dyck said "Vern has been the caddy to our division. Your servant leadership and impact will be long lasting."
Delicious dainties were prepared for the event by students in NPC's Culinary Arts Program. The NPC Junior Jazz Choir, called Dynamix, performed the special musical selections "Radioactive" and "Stand By Me." For Reimer, it was symbolic that students were involved in his retirement celebration. As a recipient of the Manitoba School Boards Association's Presidents’ Council Award in 2017, Reimer also spent 8 years as a teacher, 10 years as a principal, and 3 years as the Assistant Superintendent. It was also in Garden Valley schools that he acquired his entire public school education.
Todd Monster, the new incoming GVSD Superintendent, praised his Sr. Admin colleague for being "a person of great integrity" and a "wonderful person." "We have been led, coached, and mentored by the best," said Monster. Monster also thanked Reimer's wife Cheryl for supporting him throughout his many years with GVSD, and wished them both well in their retirement.
Providing insights from a principal colleague's perspective, Garth Doerksen, principal of Emerado School, shared some humourous anecdotes about Reimer and his leadership abilities. Offering the audience a list of "Vernisms," Doerksen highlighted a collection of Reimer's sayings that have guided him, and those working with him, through his years in education leadership. "Vern has always been giving of himself, knowledgeable and confident in his abilities," said Doerksen. "Vern is the real deal--he walks the walk, and talks the talk," concluded Doerksen.
"A huge thank you to everybody that I have had the privilege of connecting with and crossing paths within the last 32 years," said Reimer in his closing remarks. It's always been about the people for Reimer, and the relationship-building that comes first.
Working in his office and thinking about his retirement celebration, Reimer is appreciative of what this kind of event represents. "It brings ideas and people together again," notes Reimer, "and shows that it's about relationships first." Reimer is also grateful for what he's been able to be a part of in GVSD. "5,300 people get together every day," he says, "and it works." "The community is quite unique and we've changed, but the core values and what makes it work, hasn't changed." He believes that if each of us does a small part, we should leave things in better shape than they were.
His educational philosophy has serverd him well, and he believes that "every interaction is an opportunity to learn something--that's what the enterprise of education is about." Reimer remains confident about the future of Garden Valley School Division. "The foundation is solid," he says, "and people will continue building the foundation."
See below for some photos of Vern Reimer's retirement celebration: