This Week in Horizon 2022-23 » October, 2022

October, 2022

Image of Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education for Horizon School DivisionA message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education
Kevin C. Garinger, B.Ed, M.A.Ed
Director of Education/CEO
Horizon School Division No. 205
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A message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education


Welcome back, Horizon! I hope you had an excellent Thanksgiving long weekend with your loved ones. I know that I am thankful for so many things including my family, beautiful weather, and working with so many dedicated and amazing people in Horizon School Division. Education has always been my passion and I could not think of a better place to be than working with all of you in Horizon.  


Last week I was away so I am creating one summary for both weeks. So I will begin where we left September and talk about the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. I have to say that I am always so proud of our thoughtful, caring students and staff. So I am not at all surprised at how each of you have truly embraced Truth and Reconciliation. Virtual author visits, school-wide orange shirt days, social media posts, art projects, special events, visits to Regina for the inaugural Miyo-wîcîwitowin Day,  and so much more - every action brings with it a healing. Thank you to our board trustees who continue to value and support Truth and Reconciliation. Thank you to administrative assistant Melanie Gray for the idea of posting our personal calls to action, and to all who shared. Thank you for wearing orange and for doing your part to learn and grow. I am so proud to be part of an organization and team that cares so deeply about creating the best future for all children because “every child matters”.


Horizon Teachers’ Association

HTA President VernaLynn Gorrill and I had our first meeting the last week of September to discuss the first few months of the school year and consider future plans for working together. I always appreciate the chance to discuss opportunities and issues and to hear thoughts of how we can continue to work together in support of students, support staff, and teachers in Horizon. 


Board and Director Appraisals

Our trustees met for the annual Board appraisal which focused on the Board’s role, interpersonal working relationships, Board representation, a review of past accomplishments and future opportunities, and identifying areas for improvement. The Board also held my appraisal which looks at my role, goal accomplishments, interpersonal relationships, budget, and more. It is a full two days but well worth the time to celebrate the successes our system has seen, and to consider the areas for growth and improvement. 


Strategic Planning

Our division office administration team met on Friday to review strategic plans for our foundational goals related to Safe & Caring, Literacy & Numeracy, and Graduation Rates. Our team has been developing our 2022-23 strategic actions and metrics from these goals and connecting them to the provincial education interim plan that is in effect for this year. Planning is so important and I think it is best summed up in the analogy related to Abraham Lincoln who said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I’ll spend the first four sharpening my axe”.


Directors’ Leadership Team (DLT) meeting

I met with school administrators on Tuesday for a regular, virtual meeting with updates from the Senior Leadership Team. When I reflect on our ability to meet often in this format, I recognize just how grateful I am to have technology in our schools and offices that allows for us to connect in such an effective manner. We are planning our next Collaborative Learning Day to be in schools so that LIPs can also be discussed. We would not be able to accomplish this without the opportunity that exists through technology. 


Director Appendix B Committee Meeting

I met with representatives from the League of Educational Administrators, Directors and Superintendents (LEADS), the Saskatchewan School Board Association (SSBA), the Saskatchewan Association of School Business Officials (SASBO), and others to explore board policy related to the role of Directors of Education. This work has been something that the SSBA has driven and will lead to an advisory to boards across the province. They will be able to have a template if nothing else from which to consider adjusting their own policy in this area. As president of LEADS and a director, I was certainly grateful to be able to be part of this important work. 


Board Agenda Meeting

I joined Superintendent of Finance Services/CFO Sarah Reding, Superintendent of Operational Services/COO Justin Arendt, Executive Assistant Marni Sogge, Communications Officer Jesse Green, and Table Officers Linda Mattock and Jim Hack to discuss and, ultimately, set the agenda for the October 12 board meeting. 


Directors’ Meeting

I ended my time away with one of our regular meetings with all directors of education in the province. There were many significant matters that have been shared including potential changes to online learning in Saskatchewan. A great deal of discussion is happening in the province around how the centralization of this important curricular opportunity will work and what logistic and legal requirements will exist. I know there is likely some angst in Horizon regarding this matter. I want to assure you that this learning will continue to be offered for our students and by staff. Distance learning or online learning is not going away. The model for delivering the programming to Horizon students may look different, but we will still ensure students have access to synchronous and asynchronous learning opportunities. The synchronous will most likely continue to be offered by Horizon based on the unique nature of its delivery. More work is happening around this important area and I will certainly keep our staff appraised of ongoing updates. 


Have a tremendous week ahead, everyone! 




Kevin C. Garinger, B.Ed, M.A.Ed

Director of Education/CEO

Horizon School Division No. 205

[email protected]


A message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education


With the long weekend behind us, Horizon had a short, but far but uneventful week. There was a great deal going on in our schools and at the Division Office, and even some new but familiar faces joining our Horizon team. In particular, with Molli Kunz taking a leave, we were fortunate to have Marjorie Schmidt join us while Molli is away. Welcome to Horizon, Marjorie! As well, and this is a little late, but we have been fortunate to have Sandra Hessdorfer join us to support agricultural education, LAFOIP, and grant writing, to name just a few of her responsibilities. Sandra is a former employee of Horizon and we were fortunate to steal her back to Horizon from the provincial 4H organization. Welcome Sandra! Finally, we are looking forward to Sheena Gerspacher joining us to support Finance Services as an administrative assistant, replacing the accountant position in budget. We look forward to Sheena joining us in the next week or so. Congratulations Sheena!


On another note, it looks like we are in store for some more beautiful weather this week. As Katherine Arden wrote, “You don't waste October sunshine-soon the old autumn sun would bed down in cloud blankets.” As I have been travelling the region a little, I have noticed that most crops are off the fields. This is tremendous news for a province rooted in agriculture. I hope and trust that our farming community has been able to stay safe during harvest and can enjoy some much needed rest prior to fall and winter work. As October is Agriculture month, there is no better time than now to thank our farmers for putting food on our tables and supporting our challenging economy. In my opinion, the work of farmers and educators are two of the noblest professions in the world, as both have such a significant impact on our future.


Humboldt & District Chamber of Commerce   

On Tuesday morning I met with Brent Fitzpatrick, Executive Director of the Humboldt & District Chamber of Commerce to discuss Horizon’s partnership with the Chamber. As one of the largest employers in the district, Horizon has not been a member of the Chamber for many years. We discussed our ongoing plans to change this and to ensure Horizon has a voice as the Chamber continues their important work amidst significant economic growth.


Joint Operations Committee (JOC)

We held our quarterly JOC committee meeting on Tuesday afternoon with representatives from Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools, with whom we oversee operations at Humboldt Collegiate Institute. Representing Horizon at the meeting were JOC committee members and trustees Linda Mattock and Christine Gradin, CFO Sarah Reding, COO Justin Arendt, Superintendent of Human Resources Cory Popoff, Executive Assistant Marni Sogge, and yours truly. Among other items, we recognized Greg Chatlain, Director of GSCS who is retiring in December. Greg has been an outstanding colleague and advocate for improving conditions for students and staff and he will be sorely missed at the JOC and Directors’ tables. 

October Board Meeting

We had our regular, monthly board meeting on Wednesday last week. There were significant discussions held regarding a number of important matters, including the new Lanigan School. I do not have much to share except that we are meeting this upcoming week to learn more about how we are going to get this project off the ground. As well, we discussed the quarterly loss report that resulted in the misappropriation of funds equating to a $4600 loss. Unfortunately, it was reported much higher than that on one of our local radio stations, and although we addressed the matter appropriately with the former support staff worker who was involved in the incident as well as the RCMP, it is human nature to want to know more. We cannot share any more than we have, but what I will say is that the processes we have in place to mitigate against cash misappropriation are effective and led to us being able to address the matter in a timely fashion. Please keep an eye out for the rest of the updates in the October issue of From the Board.


Good luck, Sarah! And welcome, Sandy!

Our CFO, Sarah Reding, begins her maternity leave today. Please join me in wishing Sarah the very best with this next and very exciting adventure in her young family’s life! In Sarah’s absence, we are thrilled to welcome back Sandy Gessner to Horizon. Sandy will take the baton from Sarah for the next year or so and knows the ropes extremely well having filled Sarah’s last maternity leave. She will do another excellent job supporting my office as we work to meet the needs of students, staff, and the Board. Welcome Sandy! 


Board Strategic Planning Session

Our two-day strategic planning session with the Board of Education was an excellent chance to reassess priorities and identify our collective goals for the year ahead. I attended the full session with the trustees while Superintending of Indigenous Education Bryan McNabb, Superintendent of Learning Trish Maxwell, Superintendent of Wellness Terry Leibel, and Superintendent of Finance Sarah Reding joined for topic presentations ranging from Provincial Education Planning to Truth and Reconciliation to Violence Threat Risk Assessment to Enterprise Risk Management. Each Superintendent did a tremendous job presenting and supporting my efforts to provide the Board with practical knowledge and conversation that addresses their high-level plans for the division.  


Our Board continues to place value on Horizon’s goals of Literacy & Numeracy, Safe & Caring, and Graduation Rates, as well as ensuring a strong emphasis on Truth and Reconciliation. In addressing the Board’s focus on Truth and Reconciliation, we were honoured to participate in a Blanket Exercise led by Allan Kakakaway and Elizabeth Moore from Keeseekoose First Nation. The process was a powerful way to begin our time together and they followed it up with revisiting the education-related Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action.


The Governance Committee did a tremendous job of securing the plan for the two days and I want to thank them for their efforts in ensuring the excellent learning all trustees were subject to.  


To close off the week, I want to extend a huge congratulations to Horizon cross country athletes who ran at the Provincial Championships in Wapiti on Saturday. Our hats off to the coaches, staff, and parents who made the season happen for our student athletes. As Hippocrates once stated, “Even when all is known, the care of a person is not yet complete, because eating alone will not keep a person well; they must also take exercise. For food and exercise, while possessing opposite qualities, yet work together to produce health.” I am glad our children across our system are so active as a healthy body equates to a healthy mind. If you want to read more about the impact health plays on the mind, a great book is Brain Rules, by John Medina. And for staff who are heading for maternity leaves or even our young parents, check out Medina’s Brain Rules for Baby. I haven’t read the latter but if it is anything like his first book, it will also be a best seller. 


Have a great week, everyone! Time for me to get ready for what I know will be an exciting Monday across Horizon.




Kevin C. Garinger, B.Ed, M.A.Ed

Director of Education/CEO

Horizon School Division No. 205

[email protected]

A message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education


I want to begin This Week by thanking each of you for your creativity and exuberance for planning such amazing events during Education Week, Bus Driver Appreciation Day, and Saskatchewan Libraries Week! Your dedication and focus on gratitude is certainly very humbling. At this time of the year, we send staff appreciation gifts to our educational assistants, bus drivers, and librarians and our Board and my office thank them and all of you for contributing to a safe and caring school system filled with amazing learning opportunities for our students. Well done, Horizon! 


School Community Council (SCC) Engagement Committee

We began our week with a meeting to discuss SCC engagement. The committee is considering how best to support them. We value our SCC volunteers and the value their work adds to education. The SCC Engagement Committee members are Trustees Douglas Armbruster (Chair), Jennifer Lemky, Dana Stefanson, and Cheryl Vertefeuille, and ex officio members Jim Hack (Board Chair) and Linda Mattock (Board Vice-Chair). 


2021-22 Audit

At this time of the year, our audit is in full swing and as per our normal process, I met with Nadine Gibney, Senior Manager of Assurance Services with MNP on Monday afternoon. This year, Horizon’s audit is once again having a dual review as the Provincial Auditor is also reviewing the work of our Horizon auditor. The final audited financial statements will be approved toward the end of November by the Board’s Audit Committee, chaired by Trustee Mark Fedak and our statements, along with those of every school division in the province will be tabled in the Legislature in December. The process has once again gone seamlessly and we look forward to bringing these statements forward in our Annual Report. 


Reading for Education Week

I had the pleasure of reading with students at Englefeld school on Tuesday afternoon, after spending the majority of the morning with Principal Alisha Demmings and the staff at Schell School in Holdfast. It was great to be around our students during this important week and although I would have enjoyed being in every one of our schools, time just does not allow me that pleasure. I want to thank Principal, Cori Harcourt and Librarian, Kendall Kapeluck for providing me the opportunity to connect with our students and for organizing the entire day. Thank you all for being such great hosts and making me feel so very welcome! 


Canadian Association of School System Administrators (CASSA) Board Meeting

On Wednesday morning I joined the CASSA executive board meeting. CASSA is a national network of school system administrators who work to ensure excellence and equity in publicly funded education across Canada. The Board includes Directors and Superintendents from BC to Newfoundland and all parts between and serves a great purpose in supporting the work of school divisions across Canada. 


Lanigan Joint School

We continue to work with Colliers Project Leaders and the Government of Saskatchewan to work through the project plans for the consolidated Lanigan School project. On Wednesday, we had the opportunity to meet at Lanigan Central High School to discuss the next steps required to move the project forward. A great deal of work continues to be done behind the scenes to try and bring this school to the construction phase and although the anticipated opening date of September 2023 has been off the table for some time now, and our hope is to consider either a September 2024 opening day or January 2025, pending continued movement on the project. I look forward to sharing more in the upcoming weeks with all of you. 


Leadership and Governance 

Board Vice-Chair Linda Mattock, Superintendent of Finance Services (CFO) Sandy Gessner, Superintendent of Operational Services (COO) Justin Arendt, and I attended an education session put on by LEADS on Thursday. The Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy was secured to provide the professional development for school division leaders from across Saskatchewan. The course was aimed at the work of CEOs as they work with Boards and employees such as CFOs and COOs, and was a great chance to deepen our knowledge around governance and operations. 


LEADS Strategic Planning

To close out the week, I met with the executive board of the League of Educational Administrators, Directors and Superintendents (LEADS) as we worked to create our organization's strategic plan for the next three to five years. As the President of LEADS, I have a significant responsibility to support the professional organization that I belong to and was fortunate to participate in this very worthwhile event. The Honourable Dustin Duncan, Minister of Education joined us immediately following lunch to engage in discussions related to the work LEADS does in supporting our most prized provincial resource, our children. 


Finally, I had the humbling opportunity to observe the Horizon community come together to support one of our Horizon staff members, Jamie White. Jamie has had an ongoing battle with cancer and the community of Humboldt and the greater community of Horizon have done what we always do, support those in need. A volleyball tournament was held at Humboldt Collegiate Institute over the weekend and it was wonderful to see the significant number of people who not only participated, but who volunteered to put on the event. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with Jamie, and we look forward to her return as much as she looks forward to returning to her students.


Have a great week everyone.   




Kevin C. Garinger, B.Ed, M.A.Ed

Director of Education/CEO

Horizon School Division No. 205

[email protected]