This Week in Horizon » November, 2023

November, 2023

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Good afternoon, everyone. And welcome to November! I don’t know about you, but viruses seem to be flying around my home these days. Maybe it’s because I have a Kindergarten student living with me. My granddaughter attends HPS and, as we in education know, our children seem to be virus magnets. Well, nothing got past me when it came to getting sick, so I spent much of last week not feeling well and tried to work from home as best I could. I am happy to say I am on the mend and hope each of you is staying well as flu season ramps up.

Tragic News

I have been finding it difficult to put into words the loss that was felt in the communities of Humboldt, Lanigan, and surrounding area after the accidental passing of an 8-year-old child, and two men on Saturday. There are truly no words that can explain the pain, grief, and sadness being experienced by so many who are deeply connected as family members, friends, colleagues, and staff. I know each of you join me in extending our deepest, heartfelt condolences to the families and all those who knew them, including to our colleagues from Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools. 

I have learned that time will never heal a grief-broken heart; the hole that is left is for our lifetime. What time does allow is for the grief to stop overwhelming us, the sadness to be reduced by wonderful memories, and the love for our lost ones to endure forever. Our thoughts and prayers remain during this extremely difficult time.

Ag in the Classroom

It is truly remarkable to witness the many accomplishments of our students. This is one that I know hits home for all of us, considering our main industry is agriculture. Tianna Blackman, a Bruno School Grade 12 student, became a Bourlag Scholar and was awarded an all-expense paid trip to the World Food Prize Foundation Symposium in Des Moines, Iowa. She was able to attend workshops, round table discussions, and learned from world leaders on issues related to agriculture, climate change, and sustainability. Tianna and her mentor, Principal Lianne Borstmayer attended the academic conference sponsored by Ag in the Classroom. It was an excellent learning opportunity and I know one that will be great for many of our other students across Horizon to consider. Congratulations Tianna and Lianne!

Agriculture is such an important part of our world and I am grateful we have our staff and people like Sandra Hessdorfer supporting ag in the classroom across Horizon. Food sustainability is always a big topic of discussion, and it is very clear that the only way to sustain food in our world is to sustain our farming industry. So here is to all our farmers. I hope they got their crops in the bin and can enjoy a little downtime in the next couple of months. 

Subdivision 10 Trustee Announced

We are excited that former principal Garth Anderson has decided to continue his work with Horizon, having recently been acclaimed as Trustee for Subdivision 10. In addition to his roles as teacher and principal, Garth was a volunteer coach and official for youth athletics throughout his career. Our Trustees are looking forward to welcoming him to the Board table at their regular meeting this Wednesday.

Home Lottery - Winner a Horizon Staff Member

A Horizon bus driver and his wife had some wonderful news this past week - they won the Hospitals of Regina Foundation Home Lottery grand prize! It is always great to hear of little pieces of information that have positively changed one of our team member’s lives forever. And this will most definitely be the case as the 1.3 million dollar prize is going to one of our own. Congratulations!  

Learning Improvement Plans

Superintendents Trish Maxwell, Jacquie Bergerman,  Terry Leibel, and I met with principals from Wakaw, Cudworth, Bruno, and Kelvington High Schools on Monday, wrapping up the fall Learning Improvement Plan reviews for the 2023-24 school year. These plans are extremely important for growth and positive change in schools, so once again, thank you to all who contribute, and carry out the actions defined in the plans. 

Audited Financial Statements

I met with CFO Sandy Gessner on Tuesday morning to review the 2022-23 audited financial statements before the Ministry of Education’s November 1 deadline for submission. We met the deadline and are in a good position to finalize the last aspects of the audit related to this past year’s work. I want to thank Sandy and Lori Washkowsky-Lucyk and their team for what I know has been a busy couple of months in addressing the audit.

Director’s Leadership Team (DLT) Meeting

We met virtually with the DLT on Wednesday morning. There was a great deal of discussion on some of the preparation necessary as we address potential sanctions related to teachers. I certainly have great hope that both sides can reach an amicable conclusion to the negotiations through the conciliation process that will be underway in the coming weeks. 

Board Agenda Meeting

Board Chair Linda Mattock, CFO Sandy Gessner, COO Justin Arendt, Executive Assistant Marni Sogge, Communications Officer Jesse Green, and I met to set the agenda for the Board’s next meeting. It was a very good meeting led by our chair and has set the direction for our meeting on November 8.

Indigenous Liaison Committee Meeting

Committee Chair Paul Crow-Buffalo led the first Indigenous Liaison Committee meeting of the 2023-24 school year, reviewing terms of reference and establishing a schedule to review the youth and education-related Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. There is significant work happening in Horizon and across the province focused on the calls to action, and I look forward to how the work of the committee will continue to push opportunities to our families, schools, and communities. 

Governance Committee Meeting

The Governance Committee led by Committee Chair Jennifer Lemky reviewed and discussed several important topics at their November 1, 2023 meeting, including Policy 12, the Role of the Director of Education. I had the great opportunity as the President of LEADS to be involved in a Working Advisory Group (WAG) with the Saskatchewan School Boards Association (SSBA) to develop an advisory for all school divisions in Saskatchewan. The fruits of those labours have led to some important changes that will occur to the policy and the appendices. 

Other highlights from both committee meetings can be found in the November From the Board following this week’s regular board meeting. 

Once again, thank you for all you do Horizon. Keep on inspiring our future! 

Have a great week, everyone! 


Kevin C. Garinger B.Ed., M.A.Ed., Ed.D. (Candidate)

Director of Education/CEO

Horizon School Division No. 205

[email protected]


Good morning Horizon, and welcome back from the extended long weekend. Horizon’s schools did an exceptional job of involving communities in recognizing Remembrance Day last week. It is wonderful to see this recognition happening. As Larry Murray, grand president of the Royal Canadian Legion, said, “Remembrance reminds us that our nation has been through even more challenging times. Whether at war or during peace support operations, Canada’s veterans and fallen heroes alike can take comfort in our remembrance.”

We were able to contribute to ‘Operation Remembrance’ through the Royal Canadian Legion where a short video created by students from participating schools across Canada was shared every day from November 1-10. We shared a video from the project that Punnichy Community High School students completed with author Sigmund Brower a number of years ago. The link is at: 11 Days of Remembrance - Day 3 - Innocent Heroes

I want to thank every school for their commitment to Remembrance Day. Having had two grandfathers who fought in the Second World War, I understand the significance of celebrating this important day. The ongoing disputes and attacks against humanity that are evidenced in countries like Ukraine, Israel, and even here in Canada, are a testament to the importance that should be placed on those who respond to those challenges and disputes. Our schools staffs and students are to be commended for keeping Remembrance Day alive and well in our communities across Horizon. 

Trustee Facility Tour

I joined Board Trustees on a tour of Horizon schools including Archerwill, Rose Valley, Kelvington High, Robert Melrose Elementary, Foam Lake Composite, and Foam Lake Elementary schools. Trustees appreciated the warm welcome from principals and their students and staff at each school, as well as the opportunity they got to familiarize themselves with these facilities. The Board ended their tour by travelling to Fishing Lake First Nation and getting an opportunity to see Chief Sabatawasis School. 

November Organizational Meeting and Board Meeting

The Board of Education met for its annual organizational meeting as well as their regular November meeting this past Wednesday. Highlights are available in the From the Board newsletter, but I will mention and congratulate Linda Mattock and Mark Fedak who were elected Chair and Vice Chair respectively. We also had the pleasure of welcoming Garth Anderson to his first meeting as Subdivision 10 Trustee. Many of the Board’s committees met during November, so there was a great deal of time we got to spend on committee reports. Once again, it was an inspiring day for everyone and I thank the Board for their relentless commitment to our children, families, and staff. 

Waltons Trust Think Tank

Waltons Trust is a limited life grantmaking foundation striving to make a difference, and on Thursday and Friday they hosted a Think Tank to advance their organizational goals and plans. I was honoured to represent education at this collaborative event that involved the likes of the president of the Canadian Paediatric Association, researchers in areas related to child and youth development from across Canada, and paediatric psychiatrists and psychologists. The group also involved executive directors from two American associations, Fair Play and Children and Screens. Along with internationally acclaimed movie director and member of the House of Lords, Beeban Kidron from the United Kingdom, the leaders shared their expertise on dealing with policy changes, legal challenges, or commercial advocacy when children are targeted to increase screen time or to use tech-influenced toys and games. There is a great deal of research on the use of screens from pre-birth to adulthood and its impact on these age groups. It is truly staggering when we understand the impact of social media, gaming, and screen time on our children and youth and it continues to be an area we will continue to address into the future. I look forward to sharing more in the upcoming weeks and months. 

Teachers’ Convention

Horizon Teachers’ Association President VernaLynn Gorrill and the organizing committee put together an effective convention for members on Thursday. I appreciate Superintendent Cory Popoff for speaking on my behalf at the event. I wasn’t able to attend, but I understand that it was an excellent day. 

Provincial Football

Congratulations to Winston High who are silver medalists in the 2A 6-aside Football Championships - they had a tough start to the game and made an incredible comeback, showing their determination and teamwork. Wakaw competed in the 2A 6-aside category, falling short of the bronze medal but also displayed commendable sportsmanship and skill throughout the season. Congratulations to Horizon’s athletes and coaches on another successful football season.

Have a great week, everyone. The weather looks like it’s going to cooperate and keep winter at bay for a bit. Enjoy!


Kevin C. Garinger B.Ed., M.A.Ed., Ed.D. (Candidate)

Director of Education/CEO

Horizon School Division No. 205

[email protected]


November 13-17, 2023

Good morning, Horizon.

I hope you have been enjoying the unseasonably warm weather we have been having. It has been wonderful to spend time outdoors and still experience fall-related activities. 

Last week was a short week with the observance of Remembrance Day on Monday. But like all our weeks, it was certainly a very busy one in our schools and offices with report cards coming out, parent-teacher-student conferences occurring, and numerous assessments being completed in support of understanding where our students are at with reading, numeracy, and all curricular outcomes. 

Monday, November 13th was also World Kindness Day and a great reminder of how important it is to be kind to others, especially given the issues and conflicts in our world. Being in our schools is a great opportunity to see kindness on display as our staff and students regularly display kindness to each other. I had the opportunity to spend time on Thursday in Watrous Elementary and Lanigan Elementary schools and the culture created is one of caring that is prevalent throughout our school division. Thank you to each of you for your efforts to make our facilities the epitome of kindness. 

Saskatchewan School Board Association (SSBA) Fall Assembly

I joined the SSBA Fall Assembly from Sunday to Tuesday, where we focused on advancing our shared vision for education in Saskatchewan with our locally-elected school boards entrusted with the critical responsibility of amplifying the public's voice in education. I’d like to congratulate Horizon’s Board Chair, Ms. Linda Mattock, who was acclaimed as President of Public Schools of Saskatchewan. Linda joined our late Board Chair Jim Hack’s desire to represent the Public Section as he held the office of Second Vice President until his passing in July. Mrs Mattock will do an exemplary job of leading the Public Section over the next years of her tenure, and it is certainly a feather in Horizon’s cap to have her in this important role.

The SSBA Fall Assembly is generally focused on addressing the business of the SSBA, including addressing the budget, bylaws, and any resolutions put forward by the executive or the member boards. This year was no different, but due to the excellent work of the executive, which includes Horizon trustee Christine Gradin, the member boards voted overwhelmingly in favour of supporting the budget and many of the bylaws and resolutions that were put forward. The assembly also featured speakers like Dr Ken Coates from the University of Saskatchewan. Dr Coates shared his perspective and expertise in several areas, but also discussed his research-based position on the use of social media in schools and its negative impact on youth. It certainly aligns with the perspective of many researchers and medical leaders from across the country, some of whom I had the pleasure of meeting with a week and a half ago. The whole area of screens and screen time needs careful consideration as we continue to address the holistic needs of our children and youth. This important societal issue will continue to be a focus in our system and likely all systems across Canada and beyond, and I look forward to sharing further directions related to this topic.  

Three Lakes School SCC Meeting

Trustee Linda Mattock and I joined the Three Lakes School Community Council meeting on Tuesday evening. Three Lakes has an incredibly involved SCC and we listened as they shared a significant number of things they are doing to support the students and staff. We also had a great discussion related to the learning needs of the children and students, and we will continue to talk about the needs of the families and school community in subsequent months.

Joint Administration Agreement (JAA) Review

CFO Sandy Gessner and I met with Director of Education/CEO François Rivard and CFO Joel Lloyd from Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools (GSCS) to review and draft changes to the JAA. Our collective goal is to align the operations of HCI with the policy that governs the school. The shared oversight of Humboldt Collegiate Institute has been an evolving process and this important work will help manage the school most effectively.  

Senior Leadership Team Meeting

I met with Horizon’s SLT on Friday morning to confirm arrangements for the upcoming Directors’ Leadership Team professional development sessions scheduled for November 27 and 28. We are looking forward to a meaningful two days of collaborative learning with administrators. 

Provincial Volleyball Championships

I was honoured to speak at the opening of the 1A Girls’ Provincial Volleyball Championships at Annaheim School on behalf of trustee Linda Mattock and my office as Director. Annaheim co-hosted the event with Watson School and both schools and communities did a tremendous job providing a memorable experience for the competing teams, coaches, and parents. I also had the opportunity to referee throughout the weekend and play witness to the many incredible athletes and outstanding sportsmanship throughout the weekend. Rose Valley, having won 6 provincial titles in a row, lost the final in a tight three-set match, settling for silver for the first time in 7 years. Anaheim captured the bronze medal, outlasting LeRoy School in a close three-set match. 

In other girls' championships, Foam Lake finished 4th in the 2A category while Wadena and Wakaw made it to the playoff rounds, narrowly missing the medal round. In the 3A category, Lanigan girls went undefeated, never surrendering as much as a set en route to the provincial title for the second year in a row. Congratulations also go out to the coaches and teams from HCI who competed in the 4A Girls championships and finished in the top eight in the province. Congratulations to all the teams and coaches over the entire volleyball season. It was another tremendous year for so many young athletes who competed in the sport.  


Have a great week, everyone.  


Kevin C. Garinger B.Ed., M.A.Ed., Ed.D. (Candidate)

Director of Education/CEO

Horizon School Division No. 205

[email protected]


Good morning, Horizon. November 20 was National Child Day, a day dedicated to honouring the rights of children. As educators and supporters of our young learners, each of us plays a pivotal role in nurturing the potential, dreams, and aspirations of the children within our care. This occasion serves as a reminder of the importance of our efforts in creating an environment where every child feels valued, supported, and empowered to flourish. As Author Jess Lair said, "Children are not things to be molded, but are people to be unfolded." Thank you for being inspirations and unfolding the potential of our children and youth. 

Acting Principals Workshop

I began my week by joining the acting principals workshop at the division office, led by Superintendent of HR Cory Popoff. Acting administrators participated in case studies and reviewed governance and division procedures. The group also had the opportunity to ask questions of Cory and me pertaining to some of the issues they may have experienced to date. If there is one important message I want them to know, it is that they are not alone in their work. There is a strong team ready to support each of them when they take on the critical role of principal for a day, week, or longer. In addition, there is also the support from the principal who is usually never more than a phone call away. 

Day Star First Nation

On Tuesday, we hosted a meeting with Chief Lloyd Buffalo, Councillors Coraleigh Buffalo, Max Itittakoose, and Delbert Kinequon. We were also joined by Day Star Band Administrator Lorraine Demares. Joining me from Horizon were Trustees Paul Crow-Buffalo (also a member of Day Star First Nation) and Doug Armbruster, along with CFO Sandy Gessner and Superintendent Bryan McNabb. Trustee Christine Gradin and Vice Chair Mark Fedak were able to join us online for the meeting. We have a tremendous relationship with Day Star and were able to review and renew Day Star and Horizon’s educational agreement, and had excellent discussions on our ongoing partnership that serves the students of Day Star First Nation. 

First and Second Year Administrators

Superintendent Cory Popoff led meetings with Horizon’s first and second-year administrators on Thursday afternoon, joined by Superintendents Bryan McNabb, Terry Leibel, and Trish Maxwell. Throughout the year, Cory has led administrators through a book study and engaged staff in discussions about their successes and challenges. I know that administrators are extremely grateful for these learning opportunities.

Canadian Association of School System Administrators (CASSA)

On Tuesday afternoon, I joined colleagues from CASSA for a Governance and Operations meeting. Our goal was to make necessary changes to the policies and bylaws of the organization in preparation for our end-of-January board meeting. CASSA is the governing body that serves superintendents, directors of education, and other system-level educational administrators in our country. As an executive board member, I have the honour to represent the group in Canada and the USA through The School Superintendents’ Association (AASA) and find the professional growth opportunities to be significantly beneficial to my role as CEO in Horizon. 

Joint Administration Agreement (JAA) Review

CFO Sandy Gessner and I met with Director of Education/CEO François Rivard and CFO Joel Lloyd from Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools (GSCS) to continue our review of the JAA as we work to align Humboldt Collegiate Institute’s operations with relevant policy. It is always a great meeting when our offices can get together and discuss the important relationship that exists between Horizon and GSCS. 

Building Thinking Classrooms

Superintendent Trish Maxwell and Math Coach Jocelyn Armbruster hosted a number of staff from across Horizon around the value of building thinking classrooms in math and other disciplines. It is so uplifting to see this professional development taking root in our schools as it has such a strong potential for making a difference in the lives of our students. As we continue to experience its research base and pedagogical value in our classroom structures, we will continue to bring this excellent PD to all of our staff.  

School Community Council (SCC) Virtual Workshop

The Board of Education has a major focus on supporting the School Community Councils across Horizon. SCC Committees and their principals and staff representatives from across Horizon joined an electronic meeting led by the committee, which includes trustees Doug Armbruster (Chair), Dana Stephanson, Dr Cheryl Vertefeuille, and Jenna Hale, as well as ex-officio members Linda Mattock (Board Chair) and Mark Fedak (Vice Chair). The committee hosted an excellent mental health and wellness awareness event for SCC members, which included Superintendent of Student Wellness Terry Leibel and Horizon’s counsellors leading the workshop session of the evening. While trustees joined many of their respective SCCs either in person or online, members of the Senior Leadership Team led the small group discussions and reported back to the large group following the discussion period. The major focus of the collaboration was directed toward the importance of SCCs supporting mental health, developing possible partnerships, and sharing important successes. Thank you to everyone who participated in our annual event. 

Lanigan Joint School Project

I joined the project team on-site to review progress and participate in a Pull Planning session where the team worked to identify the necessary expected days for the various project milestones including the substantial completion of the new Lanigan school. There are some excellent pictures of the construction floating around, as well as great information that highlights clearly that we are on track to get this project done in early 2025. 

Provincial Boys Volleyball

Friday was a non-instructional day, and also the beginning of the Boys Volleyball Provincial Championships. Again, great job to Annaheim School and partner Lake Lenore School who hosted the 1A championships. Karma Knittig, Principal and Commissioner for both provincial events, worked tirelessly with her staff and Principal Ralph Viczko and his staff to ensure the event was another huge success. It was highlighted clearly throughout the various messages shared by SHSAA representative Ryan Trumbley, Karma, and myself that these experiences will last a lifetime for all the participants. The two schools and the many volunteers have accomplished just that for the athletes. Congratulations to Annaheim/Lake Lenore for taking home the bronze medal, equalling the accomplishment of the girls' team the week before. Congratulations also go out to Muenster and Humboldt Collegiate for making it to the playoff round of the 2A and 4A championships, respectively. Both teams narrowly missed vying for a medal, losing out in the quarter-finals. 

And with that, volleyball is complete for another season, and I want to thank all the coaches, parents, volunteers, and organizations that played a role in our athletes' experiences. Volleyball is easily one of the most subscribed to sports in the SHSAA and in Horizon, and our youth would not have the many opportunities they had if it wasn’t for those who put in the many hours supporting them. Thank you to each of you for making the season such a tremendous success. You are certainly the epitome of inspiration!

Have a great week, everyone!  


Kevin C. Garinger B.Ed., M.A.Ed., Ed.D. (Candidate)

Director of Education/CEO

Horizon School Division No. 205

[email protected]