This Week in Horizon 2022-23 » September, 2022

September, 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


I want to begin this week by acknowledging the tragedy that happened at James Smith Cree Nation and the Village of Weldon. We are wrapping our arms around the communities as they grieve the loss of their loved ones during this senseless attack. I am reminded that it is a difficult time for so many when a traumatic event occurs. For some, it elicits responses resulting from prior loss or tragedy and behaviours change significantly. One of the most important responses we can have is to recognize how this trauma has impacted us individually and how it has impacted those around us. As our students return to school, it will be important that we watch for their responses to this tragedy, and to report any concerns to principals so they can be addressed.  


I want to thank each of our staff members who worked tirelessly to welcome students back to school. We were fortunate to gather staff for in services, collaborative learning, and our annual Celebration Day event with the culmination of the week occurring when we welcomed our students back to our buses and classrooms. 


Speaking about the events that many of us were involved in, I want to send congratulations to the Horizon Teachers’ Association on a successful convention in the Resort Village of Manitou Beach. Kudos to President VernaLynn Gorrill and all who planned the event, and thanks to Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation President Samantha Becotte and comedian Joe 'Mr.D' Dombrowski for spending time with Horizon’s teachers! I also joined Superintendent Justin Arendt, Manager of Transportation Services Ken Sogge, Administrative Assistant MaryAnn Rath, and our Horizon bus drivers for their collaborative learning day. It was great to spend time with these important people who ensure the safe and caring transport of nearly 2500 students every day. The group was also joined by SGI officials who shared their expertise related to regulations and safety protocols. Thank you to Justin, Ken, and MaryAnn for their work in organizing the terrific day of learning. 


I also want to thank Cory Popoff and his administrative assistant Allison Eichorst for their organization of the Beginning Teachers’ Induction Program. Along with Horizon Superintendents and HTA President VernaLynn Gorrill, I had the honour of spending some time with our newest teachers to our system. Cory spent two full days with these new teachers and closed out the professional development opportunity by welcoming mentor teachers to the office. These outstanding teachers will help support the beginning teachers on their professional journey to meet student learning needs and we appreciate their involvement.


We also had our collaborative lead teachers involved in a session led by Superintendent of Learning, Trish Maxwell. These teachers had a big role to play in helping to support our collaborative learning day on August 29th and their leadership has helped make the day a huge success. We look forward to our next session in the next couple of weeks. 

It was such a pleasure to recognize our Horizon staff at Celebration Day on Tuesday. We appreciated our student performers who spent time on their holidays to share their talents with us. Thank you to George Gordon Education Centre students who sang their school song as well as O Canada in Cree; Sarah from Three Lakes School who captivated the room with her beautiful piano playing; and, Megan, Humboldt Collegiate Institute graduate, who serenaded us with her ukelele and her amazing voice, and is clearly right at home on a stage! 


We were honoured to announce the newest Horizon School Division Wall of Fame members. Our gratitude to Becki Bitternose and Craig Reynolds and the heartfelt words they shared with us. Visit the Wall of Fame page to learn more about them, and to look at our full list of previous Wall of Fame inductees.


Finally, we were also able to recognize our wonderful staff at Celebration Day.  Congratulations to Excellence in Teaching award winners Katherine Schapansky, Lanny Saretsky, Glenda Lees, Graham Farrell, Cindy Yanko, and Michelle Daubenfeld whose awards were recognized. Congratulations to all who received a years of service pin, and a special shout out to Carol Baade and Linda Haeusler who achieved 40 years of service, and Gayle Fahlman who hit the 45-year mark! We're lucky to have the chance to stand on the shoulders of such giants in our profession. I want to thank everyone who had a part to play in organizing this day, many of whom I mentioned but who certainly deserve further recognition. I want to extend a huge shout out to the staff members of Horizon Division office who ensured that forms were filled out, pictures were taken, food was ordered, pins were presented, live streaming was available, and presenters were organized. In truth, there was so much more than just these items necessary for such a successful event and to name everyone who played a part would be nearly impossible. Just simply, thank you to each of you who made our Celebration Day a success.  


While teachers and support staff were in schools on Wednesday, I attended the funeral of one of our grade 12 students who tragically lost her life. Marlie Longman was an amazing young student from George Gordon who was readying to attend high school for her final year. Her loss has been deeply felt by all of us in Horizon including our staffs in George Gordon and Punnichy, where she attended. Our thoughts and prayers will remain with her family, friends, and all who knew her. 


Finally, on Friday, I had the pleasure of joining staff and students of Bruno School for the formal welcome of students from Nova Scotia who were part of an exchange with Bruno. The school also invited former Bronco goaltender Jacob Wassermann as their guest speaker. Jacob shared an amazing message of resilience and overcoming life challenges. I want to thank teacher Rex Selby and principal Lianne Borstmayer for the invitation to their event. 


Have a great week, 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


Welcome back to the first full week of school for students in our school year. Although this past week was a short one, it was one of the longest weeks in many lives across our great province. It began with the awareness that 10 people had been murdered and led to a man hunt that ended Wednesday shortly after the individual was spotted in a stolen vehicle right within Horizon School Division borders. I have been asked why we went to hold and secure in this situation. Our main priority, along with learning, has at its roots the health and safety of our students, staff, and families. During the chaos that ensued and not knowing where a mass murderer was located, it was clear that any route from James Smith Cree Nation to Regina had to go through Horizon. In the short time at the end of the day on Wednesday prior to capture, hold and secure helped us ensure the necessary level of safety in a number of schools. We will continue to review these processes but having had initial discussions with some of our RCMP leadership, we were making the right decision in these terrible times.  


And so we began our week with a Directors’ Leadership Team meeting where the topic of discussion largely surrounded these horrific events on James Smith Cree Nation and in the Village of Weldon. I want to thank each of you for your diligence around the safety of our children, staff, and families. Your efforts were significant in these challenging times and allowed for student learning to continue in as safe a fashion as possible. I also want to thank emergency services across Saskatchewan, including paramedics and police. In particular, thank you to the RCMP who were finally able to bring the suspect to justice just prior to his own death. Our school flags will be flown at half-mast for ten days; one day to honour each of the victims in the tragedy. We continue to think about the families, friends, and communities as they now have the ability to begin a healing journey that will never end.


LEADS Executive Board Meeting

On Thursday morning I met with the executive members from League of Educational Administrators, Directors and Superintendents (LEADS) as well as executive director, Ben Grebinski. Our electronic meeting focused on a number of items that address the needs of the membership of this professional organization. As president of LEADS, I preside over the meetings and take the board members through the agenda. It is always a positive experience working closely with colleagues from across our province who are involved in their own districts in senior leadership. 


Lanigan School

We continued meetings this week with Colliers, our project management firm, Group 2 Architecture, and the Government of Saskatchewan to work through continued challenges for the new Lanigan School. I will share more information as soon as it is available to be shared publicly.  


New AEDs coming to schools

Superintendent Terry Leibel will be delivering new automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to all schools in the coming weeks. Terry will send instructional videos as well as go through the AED updates with administrators. The new AEDs will not have pads that need to be changed for children and adults as the same pads are used interchangeably. 


Calm app

We have renewed our subscription with the Calm app for all staff. Last year, we saw that more than 700 staff had subscribed but only 250 were using the app in some fashion. This is still a tremendous number so I am glad we were able to provide it in support of those who are using it and those who may choose to do so this year. It is a wonderful resource that can contribute to well being, and I encourage you to take advantage of the subscription! If you have any questions please contact Superintendent Terry Leibel. 


Learning Improvement Plans (LIPs)

Templates have been shared with administrators, and new this year, each school will have an assigned superintendent for the LIP process. I am looking forward to working through each plan with our principals and vice principles and being part of the important conversations concerning learning growth for students across the system.  


What motivates us?

One last thank you to all who shared in the ThoughtExchange around what motivates us to do our work and be the best for students. Please have a look at some of the themes and the word cloud below.


I hope our first full week back in 2022-23 with our children continues to be a tremendous week of learning for our students and ourselves. Thank you for your work, everyone! 




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

Director of Education/CEO

Horizon School Division No. 205

[email protected]


We asked, “What motivates us to do our work and be the best for students?” 

Thank you to everyone who took time to share and rate thoughts! 


Here are keywords based on their star rating:


Word cloud



A message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education

I hope you were able to spend time doing the things you enjoy over the weekend. I spent some of my time refereeing college volleyball, something I really enjoy doing. Just recently, I conducted a virtual volleyball officials’ clinic. I know many of our prospective referees, coaches, and players attended the evening. However, if you were unable to attend and wanted to, the event was recorded. Please talk to Tessa Jordan if you need any additional support.

Horizon’s schools and facilities flew their flags at half-mast to honour the victims of the James Smith Cree Nation and Weldon tragedy - one day for each life lost. Although flags will be raised again, the aftermath of this unthinkable trauma will certainly take its toll. Aristotle Onassis said, “It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.” It is heartwarming to see people searching for the light all around us as they conduct vigils and engage in other acts of care and kindness. 

With the Queen’s passing, flags across Horizon will remain at half-mast until the morning of September 20th, which follows her funeral on Monday the 19th. There is a great deal to respect regarding her long reign and we certainly recognize the impact of the change in the monarchy in Canada.

Strategic and project planning
Our Senior Leadership Team met on Monday morning to review and update our strategic and project plans for Horizon’s three goals of Safe & Caring, Literacy & Numeracy, and Graduation Rates. We will forward to sharing a new template that will make goal setting at the school level easier to work through. 

League of Educational Administrators, Directors, and Superintendents (LEADS) and Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation (STF) meeting
LEADS executive director Ben Grebinski and I met with STF executive director Bobbi Taillefer and president Samantha Becotte on Tuesday to discuss our shared interests and with a view to build a strong partnership. It was certainly great to connect with the leadership of the STF and to engage in the dialogue that builds understanding and supports future collegial discussion. 

Board Agenda Meeting
On Wednesday we held an agenda meeting to prepare for our upcoming regular Board meeting. Table officers Jim Hack and Linda Mattock joined Superintendent of Finance Services/CFO Sarah Reding, Superintendent of Operational Services Justin Arendt, Executive Assistant Marni Sogge, Communications Officer Jesse Green, and I for the meeting. It was extremely productive, and we look forward to the board meeting next week. 

BHP engagement process
The senior leadership team and I took part in BHP’s engagement process on Wednesday as BHP is seeking input on regional infrastructure and baseline services to inform their planning of the Jansen Mine. It was a tremendous opportunity to share what we are doing in Horizon School Division and to learn more about the expansion planned over the next three to 10 years. The impact of the Jansen mine will be felt across our school division for generations and we appreciate contributing to their data collection efforts.

Governance committee
Committee chair Jennifer Lemky joined fellow trustees Paul Crow-Buffalo, Jenna Hale, and Douglas Armbruster and Board Chair Jim Hack and Vice Chair Linda Mattock to discuss the upcoming Board appraisals, review the committee’s terms of reference, and review policy items. CFO Sarah Reding and Executive Assistant Marni Sogge joined me to support the committee in their important work. 

George Gordon First Nation
Trustee Douglas Armbruster, along with Sarah Reding, Superintendent of Indigenous Education Bryan McNabb, and I met with our partners at George Gordon First Nation, including Chief Byron Bitternose, Councillor Danny Cyr, and Education Coordinator Henry Brass. Our goal was to discuss our shared educational goals and our future education agreements. I will share more information as this important work is finalized, but we made extremely positive steps toward an even brighter future in support of our students from George Gordon.  

Welcome back from Métis Nation of Saskatchewan
Bryan McNabb and I joined the Métis Nation of Saskatchewan in a welcome back to the school year. Horizon has been fortunate to receive funding from the Métis Nation in support of improving opportunities for Métis youth to learn the Michif language. In the near future, we will be advertising for a Métis instructional coach to support our students and teachers.  

Golf, volleyball, tackle football, flag football, soccer, and cross country are in full swing and it’s so wonderful to see our student athletes competing, learning, and having fun. Good luck to junior golfers at districts and senior golfers at provincials this week! It is equally as great to see our performing and non-performing arts programs operating in schools across Horizon. I look forward to seeing and listening to the significant variety of amazing efforts of our 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]

A message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education


I hope you were able to enjoy the beautiful fall weather over the weekend. I know the fall rain played a little havoc for our farmers as they continue to try and get the crop off their fields. Fortunately this week looks like it will be outstanding weather for our farming community and I am certain the majority of this year’s harvest will be in the bin by the end of the week. On behalf of Horizon School Division, I want to wish our farmers a safe and prosperous harvest season. 


I was so impressed with how our school communities showed up for Terry Fox last week! Your creative fundraising ideas and lessons about perseverance and giving back are inspiring. Thank you to everyone who contributed. 


We’re noticing at the division office that this fall seems particularly busy, but in a good way. It’s wonderful to see student representative and leadership councils planning and hosting events as well as school community councils and so many school-based clubs. It has been a few years since we have seen this level of activity in Horizon, and I think we can all agree that we’re happy to be back to the busyness of schools and the focus on learning.


Congratulations to the Saskatchewan Music Educators Association on the first ever Music Educators Day earlier this month! To each of our band directors - thank you for enriching our students’ lives through music. As well, great job to Horizon golf athletes and coaches on an excellent season! Congratulations to golfers who competed in the Junior District Championships and seniors who competed in golf and those who had the opportunity to compete at the Provincial Golf Championships at Jackfish Lake over the weekend! Good luck to cross country athletes at pre-districts this week. 


Collaborative Learning Day

The return of our system-wide collaborative learning teams is one of the things I’m most excited about for this fall. Our extended focus is on assessment for learning using our Saskatchewan assessment document as a structure and framework. Having had the opportunity to spend time with many of you and listening to your engaging conversations related to the importance of assessment, I remain convinced that Horizon staff are doing amazing work and certainly great leaders for our province.

As Robert Meehan has indicated, “The most valuable resource that all teachers have is each other. Without collaboration our growth is limited to our own perspectives.” 


I also spent time at the secretary collaborative day. Our school secretaries are such an integral part of the school community. Your work, which flows out of the work of the principal, involves everything from being a nurse practitioner to a computer technician and everything in between. Thank you for your work in supporting each other during the collaborative session and for bringing up the important questions that can help the system move forward. I know MSS is now “old hat” for many of you, and from all indications, it appears to be a useful tool for our schools and entering student information. With September 30th enrolments just around the corner, I want to thank you for ensuring this data is accurate in the system. Anthony d’Angelo put it best when he said, “Be nice to secretaries. They are the true gatekeepers of the world”. 


Directors’ Leadership Team Professional Development Day

Thanks to the Humboldt Regional Newcomers Centre staff for their presentation on settlement workers in schools - it was a timely and informative topic to begin our professional development day on Tuesday. We also covered governance practices, human resources case studies, the provincial education plan, and resumed our book study on Learning by Doing by DuFour, DuFour, Eaker, Many, and Mattos. 


Board Meeting

The Board of Education held its September meeting on Wednesday. We were joined by CFO Sarah Reding, COO Justin Arendt, executive assistant Marni Sogge, and communications officer Jesse Green. Highlights of the meeting will be shared in our monthly From the Board report. As always, the Board spent a great deal of time discussing items that directly impact learning including the building of the new school in Lanigan. We are still in a holding pattern with the school and are working with the Ministries of Education and Sask Builds and Procurement as well as our lowest bidder to try and bring this project to fruition. When more information is available, you will be one of the first to know. 


Indigenous Education Responsibility Framework Launch

Trustees and school division staff gathered in Regina for the Indigenous Education Responsibility Framework Launch on Thursday. Trustees Rhonda Kayseas, Paul Crow-Buffalo, Albert Pinacie, and chairperson Jim Hack joined the event that kicked off with a pipe ceremony. This is an important framework that will support our schools and our Indigenous learners in a positive way and I look forward to sharing more in the upcoming weeks. 


Senior Leadership Team Meeting

The senior leadership team met to continue our discussions on strategic planning and project plans in advance of our Central Office Administration Team (COAT) meeting scheduled for September 30th. 


STF Professional Learning: Here to Support You

Superintendent of Human Resources, Cory Popoff recently shared an opportunity for teachers and I wanted to reiterate his call in TWIH. Teachers with less than five years of experience are welcome to join this session on September 28, 2022. Teachers will learn about professional growth opportunities and resources available through the Emma Stewart Resource Center and STF Professional Learning so if you get the chance, it is likely to be a good opportunity for understanding what the STF can offer teachers. 


Best Buy Technology Grant

Best Buy Canada’s School Tech Grant program supports Canadian public schools looking to upgrade their classroom technology. They believe that having access to the latest computers and digital devices is essential to keeping students motivated and inspired. Click here to learn more and to apply by October 13, 2022.


And finally, I had the pleasure of spending part of Friday and all day Saturday in Rose Valley with six of our volleyball teams from schools within Horizon. It never ceases to amaze me how incredibly talented our youth are and what incredible young people we have in our midst. Whether I am at a drama event, music event, sports event, or even just in one of our schools, our kids continue to impress at every turn. Well done!


Have a great week, everyone!  




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

Director of Education/CEO

Horizon School Division No. 205

[email protected]