After 45 years, 13 as a student, Superintendent Vern Reimer is leaving the Garden Valley School Division.
"The time is right," he says, with a school board election around the corner and with much of the planning complete for the division's newest school.
However, Board Chair Laurie Dyck says he will be greatly missed.
"He's truly brought great leadership to this division," Dyck says. "He's mentored, led, had compassion and cared... he's grown up in Garden Valley School Division from kindergarten to the day he'll retire."
Beginning as a gym teacher in Plum Coulee, Reimer would move to the newly opened Parkland Elementary before taking over as principal. He would eventually take on an assistant superintendent role and later serve the division for over a decade as superintendent.
After years of leading a vibrant, growing and successful division and opening four new schools, many have come seeking Reimer's advice.
His secret is simple; "for me it comes down to finding ways to serve, and making things better for kids," he says.
Reimer tells the story of recently bumping into an old friend who inquired if he was still teaching at Plum Coulee.
Even though he'd been head of GVSD for a number of years at that point, he says being a good superintendent is like being a good referee, "after the game you don't remember the referee," he says.
Instead, he says the stars of the game are the teachers and the students. His job has been to empower others with the tools and resources to teach kids and make good choices, "and trusting them to make those choices" he says.
After leaving Parkland Elementary after ten years as principal, Reimer says he always remembered one of the staff member's parting words, "makes sense, off you go, you've equipped us, we know what to do, we'll carry on."
"That's really the nature of this work," Reimer says. "Making sure everyone else has what they need to do their work, especially for kids."
Reimer's retirement begins at the end of 2017/18 school year. He says he looks forward to joining his wife in retirement and enjoying time spent with their eight grandchildren.