“What are you doing next year?”
I have been asked this question many times over the past year.
The more you answer, “I’m not sure…” the more difficult it becomes to get asked that question (just ask any grade 12 student; they will share this same feeling). But I understand those kids a little better now, through the mixed emotions coming from leaving many friends, handing over a rewarding work to a good friend, and departing a community I’ve shared this life and worked with.
A Comforting Lesson
The added prospect of an unfamiliar future ahead made this a year in which I needed to learn a few things about our Lord, waiting on His plans, trusting Him with what’s next. Paula Rinehart calls this, “resting in the cool shade of surrender” and she evokes themes from the Psalms and the prophets–the protective shelter of His wings (Psalm 91:4), the hiding place of His protection (Psalm 32:7), or the shelter of a large tower in times of uncertainty (Psalm 61:3). A new sense of His protection and a pervading experience of His rest have been an incredible comfort to me as I’ve seen the plan unfold and ideas come to fruition. His plans are always good and He is faithful in sharing them with us in His perfect time.
In the end, I accepted a position at White Rock Christian Academy in their Junior School Program (elementary school, K-5). The first decade of my teaching career was in elementary school, and I am eager to return there for the next stage of my career. Debbie also applied at WRCA for an open kindergarten position and she secured a position last week. Again, the Lord looked after us and we are fortunate to once again move to a new community and work in the same school.
An Easy Answer
I have also been asked the question, “How were your last eight years of leading at ACS Secondary?” It’s an easy response for me—the thoughts that come most readily to mind are warm, familiar, happy. The community is wonderful, the students have been enthusiastic, the push toward innovative learning has been inspiring and the staff are some of the most skilled educators I’ve ever worked with. Sure, we have faced some complex problems. Without a doubt, there were days with challenging leadership dilemmas and thorny classroom issues–even exasperating days where solutions seemed to evade all of us.
But my memories from ACS will not be dominated by difficulties encountered; they will be marked with joy, grace given and received, even forgiveness given and received.
A Deep Love
I am so grateful to you—parents, staff, students, as you have been generous to me with your strength and care, wisdom and encouragement. I’ve benefited from your advice and learned from your expertise. What I’ve seen as our students have entered into their adulthood and what I have experienced in this community, have far outweighed the challenges a thousand times over.
In this work, I see that you love people, love students, love God, and you are filled with honest hope and optimistic concern for their future. You have offered them (including two of my own children) the chance to leave secondary school with their best foot forward, on a solid path with Christ at the center. YOU have played and are continuing to play a significant part in directing their passions, paths and futures.
It has truly been an honour and a privilege to serve God with you as a leader at ACS.
A poster hanging on my office wall states, “Begin each day with a grateful heart.” But really, I don’t need the reminder. You all make it easy.
These days, I am grateful for the chance I had to work at ACS, grateful that I was able to make some wonderful friends here, grateful for the impact we have made in the lives of so many teenagers and grateful for the many parents and students with whom I could share a portion of my life.
And with a grateful heart, I say to you, my friends, “Thank you.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Gerry, with a grateful heart I want to also say “thank you”. Your leadership has been pivotal to my growth as an educator. For 8 years you have effectively guided our high school. I will miss your pastoral role, and your amazing encouragement. I am truly thankful and grateful. You will be deeply missed.
Gerry, thank you! We, as a family, have faced several challenges along the way and you have totally been there for us. We so appreciate you, we are grateful and we wish you the very best!
Thank you, Gerry, for the selfless manner in which you gave your time and your leadership gifts to this school. I, too, have appreciated your encouragement and the ways in which you have challenged me over the five years I have been at ACS. Blessings on this next stage of your career.
Gerry, it is with sadness and other emotions that I say “Thanks” for your leadership at ACS over the last 8 years. I have been here a long time and can say that you have guided this school to a spiritual level I have not seen before. You are a faithful servant of our Lord Jesus Christ and have always been a great example to me of how to lead this school through prayer and the conviction of the Holy Spirit. You have also been a tremendous supporter of the Shop programs and our Bible programs which are stronger and… Read more »