This Week in Horizon » April, 2024

April, 2024

A message from Kevin C. Garinger, Director of Education
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Hello, Horizon. We were fortunate to have beautiful weather this weekend, and I hope you all were able to enjoy it. In her song about spring in Saskatchewan, artist Connie Kaldor wrote, “Spring on the prairies comes like a surprise – one minute there’s snow on the ground, the next there’s sun in your eyes.”

This upcoming week, the Saskatchewan Association of School Business Officials will meet for their provincial conference in Regina, and I know I’m not the only one hoping the threat of snow doesn’t come to pass!

STF Job Action

The Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation (STF) and the Government Trustee Bargaining Committee plan to return to the bargaining table on Monday, and this was extremely welcome news after a week of sanctions involving the withdrawal of noon period supervision and extracurricular activity. We are hopeful that progress will be made, and I know our students and staff will be glad to resume sports, arts, and the many other extracurricular activities that enrich our educational experiences. 

Principal Interviews

Trustee Jenna Hale, Superintendent of Human Resources Cory Popoff, and I interviewed candidates for principal positions on Monday. Announcements are being made about the successful candidates, but we continue to have outstanding applications from Horizon staff and those outside our Division and province. More information will be shared regarding those who have accepted the roles in the upcoming days.  

Directors’ Leadership Team

Horizon’s principals and vice principals joined a virtual meeting Tuesday morning where we focused on the current STF job sanctions. We continued our discussions on Thursday afternoon as clarity was being provided regarding Horizon’s position on the Rules of Work. A notification was planned for Friday, but the position of the Employer has been put in abeyance with the sanctions being lifted. 

Board of Education

On Tuesday, the Board’s Election Committee held a planning meeting in advance of this year’s fall general elections. Committee Chair Jenna Hale, Trustees Garth Anderson, Christine Gradin, and Jennifer Lemky, and ex officio members Linda Mattock and Mark Fedak were in attendance. A great deal of discussion was held on the New Trustee’s Handbook and the important categories contained within it. The committee made some changes to the document that will provide additional clarity for potential new members of the Board.

Later that day, Horizon and Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools (GSCS) met for a Joint Operations Committee meeting, for a regular review of Humboldt Collegiate Institute’s operations. Joining me at the meeting were Trustees Cheryl Vertefeuille and Linda Mattock, staff including CFO Sarah Reding, COO Justin Arendt, and Cory Popoff. Joining us from GSCS were Director of Education François Rivard, CFO Joel Lloyd, Superintendent Terri Fradette, and Trustees Wayne Stus and Sharon Zakreski-Werbicki. The committee oversaw the human resources report and the budget to actual financial statements for HCI. 

Canadian Association of School System Administrators (CASSA)

I joined the CASSA executive board meeting virtually on Monday in my role as western representative for the School Superintendents’ Association in the USA (AASA). Our executive has been involved in reviewing the association’s bylaws and we were able to complete a number of changes during this meeting.

Provincial Directors Meeting

I joined the Directors of Education from across Saskatchewan on Wednesday afternoon to discuss matters concerning our school divisions. It is always helpful to hear from others in the province, and I look forward to these regular meetings with colleagues. Our biggest focus was centred on the current status of negotiations and the impacts on school divisions. We wrapped up the day with a meeting with the Deputy Minister’s office. 

Saskatchewan School Boards Association Spring Assembly

I attended the Saskatchewan School Board Association's Spring Assembly on Thursday and Friday along with our trustees from Horizon. President Jaimie Smith-Windsor opened the event, followed by the Honourable Jeremy Cockrill, Minister of Education who brought greetings, and a keynote address by political writer Murray Mandryk from the Regina Leader Post

The agenda included focused sessions including an update on the Local Democratic Voice by Dr. Katina Pollock and Ruth Nielsen, and insights into land-based learning by the Ile-a-la-Crosse School Division. Another significant session was led by Dr. Rachel Engler-Stringer discussing the progress towards a national school food policy in Canada.

A session on the Saskatchewan Broadband Action Committee highlighted the ongoing efforts to improve digital infrastructure for educational facilities across the province. Also, there were discussions on equitable education for students with reading disabilities hosted by the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission and an update on student assessment strategies by Dr. Scott Tunison.

Along with the assembly, on Thursday morning I attended the Board Chairs Council with Board Chair Linda Mattock and SSBA executive member Christine Gradin. Updates and discussions regarding negotiations between the Government Trustee Bargaining Committee(GTBC) and the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation (STF) were held with the Minister of Education, Honourable Jeremy Cockrill. Impassioned trustees and Directors shared their perspectives on the impact of today’s decisions on the future of education in Saskatchewan.  


This weekend, I spent time with Horizon parents and our students who were participating in the 13UW Provincial volleyball championships and 15UW volleyball Sask Cup 3, mentoring referees and dealing with any issues that came up. It is always a heartwarming opportunity to see our students involved in the activities they are passionate about. I know many of our kids were engaged in many other activities over the weekend including club baseball and softball, dance, and basketball. 

I hope you have a great week, Horizon! 


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.

Last week was National Volunteer Week, with the theme of, "Every Moment Matters” in celebration of the invaluable contributions made by volunteers. We couldn’t be more grateful to our School Community Councils, parents, caregivers, staff, and community members who generously donate their time and energy to our students. Whether they are opening the magical world of books to our students, contributing to extracurricular activities, providing nutrition to our young people, contributing to safety on field trips, and so much more, each volunteer moment enriches the lives of our children.

In so many ways, these acts of service create inclusive spaces where every child can thrive. We are better able to foster resilience and enhance the well-being of our school communities. As Helen Dyer said, “Volunteerism is the voice of the people put into action. These actions shape and mould the present into a future of which we can all be proud.” We certainly value and need to celebrate those important moments that volunteering contributes to our students’ lives. 

Provincial Directors’ Meeting

I began my week with a provincial Directors' meeting early on Monday, a new recurring meeting to ensure our province-wide strategies are aligned and effective during the ongoing Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation and Government Trustee Bargaining Committee work towards a new collective agreement. 

Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) Local 4799

CUPE Local 4799 President Marie Moore and the CUPE bargaining team met with myself, CFO Sarah Reding, Superintendent of Human Resources Cory Popoff, Assistant Superintendent of Finance Lori Washkowsky, Manager of Human Resources Monica Arendt, and Human Resources Generalist Sydney Odelein on Monday to continue our interest-based bargaining process. The process has gone very smoothly and we are expecting to be completed negotiations in the very near future. 

Leadership Mental Health

The Canadian School Mental Health Leadership Network met to continue our work on exploring mental health through a clinical lens. The network includes representatives from CSBA, SSBA, LEADS, and CASSA, and I have had the pleasure of participating as a representative of Saskatchewan system leaders on the committee.


The Board met for their regular monthly meeting on Tuesday, and highlights from this meeting will be shared in the From the Board newsletter. It was another tremendous meeting focused on the governance of the organization with great discussions on items such as upcoming events like graduations and student day, as well as a deeper look at the governance budget. 

The Board’s Governance Committee, led by committee Chair Jennifer Lemky, met on Thursday to further discuss the Board and Director’s appraisal process, among other topics. Committee members Jennifer Lemky, Paul Crow-Buffalo, Christine Gradin, and Dana Stefanson were joined by ex-officio members Linda Mattock and Mark Fedak, and staff including Executive Assistant Marni Sogge, and myself. 

Stakeholder Engagement - Horizon Teachers’ Association

Following the Board meeting, the Horizon Teachers’ Association executive, including President Verna Lynn Gorrill, joined Trustees and Horizon’s Senior Leadership Team for a meal at the Division office. We value this chance to gather and discuss our shared goals and matters of significance related to the future of education in Horizon and beyond. 

Horizon Central Athletic Association

The HCAA Spring Meeting & Awards Supper on Thursday evening was an excellent opportunity to acknowledge the hard work and dedication of our volunteer coaches, as well as to prepare for the upcoming Saskatchewan High School Athletic Association annual general meeting and award presentations. It is always enjoyable to engage with groups of people who are passionate about supporting the extracurricular needs of our students. President Curtis Strueby ran the meeting along with other members of the executive and Brian Grest. It was also a pleasure to have SHSAA Assistant Executive Director Jeff Kitz join the group as the agenda centered on the wind-up to the 2023-24 year in sport and activity.  

As I think back to volunteering, those involved in activities with our students most closely fit this to a tee. This past weekend I had the pleasure of supporting officials as they helped matches run smoothly for athletes and coaches during the 14UW, 14UM, and 17UW Provincials for volleyball. It was inspiring to see so many Horizon SD athletes involved in the sport and how incredible they represented their teams. Some won provincial medals while others won 5th and 7th place matches to round out the weekend. But far above the medals and scorecards were the intangibles for hopefully every athlete. My hope is the athletes all won through the relationships they established; and that the friendships made with teammates will last their lifetimes. I hope the gifts of understanding teamwork and leadership resonate with these young people and they take the lessons back to their schools and their time away from the courts. Last but not least, I hope they understand how volunteers made all these opportunities happen for them and their teammates. Our world would cease to exist without volunteers and our young people need to understand as they will be the ones who carry the torch into the 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, everyone.

On Wednesday, we celebrated Administrative Professionals Day, a day set aside each year to recognize the hardworking administrative staff who keep our schools and offices running smoothly. From organizing meetings to handling daily inquiries, their dedication and skills are the backbone of our school communities. To each of you, thank you for all you do for our students, staff, and families. Our team is so much more because of YOU!

Provincial Directors’ Meeting

I began my week with a provincial Directors' meeting on Monday, the second one of a new recurring meeting we will have during the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation (STF) and Government Trustee Bargaining Committee bargaining process. STF members will vote on the Government’s offer on May 8 and 9 and discussions are ongoing as we prepare for the decisions that will be made by teachers in Saskatchewan. 

2024-25 Budget

I spent much of my week working on next year’s budget along with Superintendent of Finance Services/CFO Sarah Reding and our other superintendents. We are preparing to present the preliminary 2024-25 budget to the Board before sending the finalized plan to the Ministry by June 30. The Board had a very important engagement meeting in February which really helped set the direction for the budget. Throughout our process, we engaged principals with respect to their needs in their schools related to staffing, resources, and building needs. I believe this is an important practice that truly focuses on trying to meet the needs of the organization in the best, most effective and efficient manner. 

The School Superintendents Association (AASA) Budget Presentation

I joined the governing board and executive committee to hear AASA’s 2024-25 budget presentation on Monday morning. Next, regional executive committee members will address any questions at their May meeting, and voting on the budget will begin on May 8.  

George Gordon First Nation

CFO Sarah Reding and I met with Education Coordinator John Walter from George Gordon First Nation on Tuesday to continue discussions around enhancing our shared educational agreement. Our collective efforts are essential to keep our focus sharp and ensure that we can continue to meet the needs of our students. We are eager to keep this dialogue going and work together toward our common goals, and I look forward to providing updates in the future.

Board Facility Tours and Celebration Day Lunch

I joined trustees on a Horizon facilities tour on Tuesday as we visited LeRoy School students and staff before joining Englefeld School staff for their Celebration Day lunch and facility tour. Following lunch, we stopped at the Muenster School. Our trustees appreciated the warm welcome, and the chance to become more familiar with our schools, students, and staff. COVID-19 prevented these tours from occurring in the first two years of the Board’s tenure, so it is great we are getting them in as we prepare for our budget process.

Humboldt Early Years Family Resource Centre (HEYFRC) Management Committee Meeting

The HEYFRC management committee met along with representatives from the centre, PARTNERS Family Services, local libraries, the Humboldt Regional Newcomer Centre, the Saskatchewan Health Authority, local daycares, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, the City of Humboldt, Carlton Trail College, and others. Kelly McLarty, Horizon staff member, and program designer for the centre, led the meeting along with Superintendent of Learning Trish Maxwell. The HEYFRC has demonstrated a great opportunity for the families in the area and we are seeing record numbers of families accessing the services that are provided. I continue to be grateful for the partnership with have with PARTNERS Family Services.

Human Resources

We continued our interviews for Horizon principals in the 2024-25 school year on Friday morning with some excellent candidates and will continue to share who the successful individuals are who have accepted these leadership positions within Horizon. 

Lanigan School Project

I travelled to Lanigan to meet with the project team for an update on the Lanigan school, including a review of costs, schedule, and construction progress. A tour of the facility showed us the significant progress that is being made and the excitement in the community and area is a direct result of this excellent progress. In the next couple of weeks, the entire roof will be completed meaning that it will be completely enclosed and the elements will not play any impact on the next steps of construction. 

Joint Administration Meeting

Through our shared commitment to the responsibility of Humboldt Collegiate Institute, Sarah Reding and I met with Greater Saskatoon Catholic School’s Director of Education François Rivard and CFO Joel Lloyd on Friday morning. We have done some very important work on the Join Administration Agreement that is in place between the Boards and I look forward to finalizing the updates with the JOC and the Board in the next month or two. The times have changed, and a new agreement that speaks to current practice is likely overdue. However, there is no point in dwelling on what should or could have been. The time is now and I look forward to the finish line regarding the agreement. 

Sask Volleyball Provincials

Having spent time officiating at the 18UW provincial volleyball championships in Warman over the weekend, and knowing the 16UW provincial was happening in Saskatoon, it was inspiring to see how many Horizon athletes were engaged in the sport. I can tell you firsthand that they represented themselves and their teams in an exceptional way, something we have simply come to understand is the norm for our kids. Whether they won a provincial or not, they had a great time enjoying a sport they love and I certainly enjoyed being part of their experience with their families, coaches, and Sask Volleyball. Well done, everyone!!

It looks like the weather will continue…meaning we are further away from any chance of snow. I think we are all glad for that! 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]