Terry Borys believes Louis Riel School Division has progressively evolved with the changing face of the community.
On Oct. 31, Borys retired as superintendent of schools and CEO of the division after a decade at the helm. His successor is Duane Brothers.
Borys took the job in 2002 following the amalgamation of the St. Boniface and St. Vital school divisions. At the time, he was superintendent of schools and CEO of St. Vital School Division.
He said the move was challenging in the beginning, as both sides resisted the amalgamation by the government.
"There was no desire on either side. You had two organizations that had different ways of doing business, cultures and traditions," Borys said.
"In 2002, it was daunting and political. Ten years later, we’ve become a progressive school division."
Borys said two of his proudest achievements were overseeing the division’s planning and policy on inclusivity and helping it become more progressive.
Some examples of that progressiveness include creating a range of programs and services for new Canadians at René Deleurme Centre and addressing higher levels of child poverty with lower class sizes and snack and book programs.
"More of our students are now coming from war-torn countries, where the language is different, so planting them in a classroom straight away isn’t right," Borys said.
He also highlighted the division’s Respect for Human Diversity: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity policy, which the school board approved in Dec. 2011.
"It’s been quite a conversation in our community and a challenging time, but the majority of people got it," Borys said.
"We’ve had a lot of interest in our policy, as it’s a positive and strong statement about sexual diversity," he added.
"It’s a fact of life that we’re not all Dick and Jane and all of our moms don’t wear stilettos. All families are different and they’re all good."
Originally from Saskatchewan, Borys’ first teaching job was at École Sacré-Coeur in Winnipeg School Division in the 1970s.
Having worked his way up through the ranks, Borys admits he has relished the challenge of "being a teacher at different levels."
"I’ve taught kindergarten to Grade 12, so I know what happens in those classrooms," he said.
"My (former) role (could) be a difficult one for people to understand sometimes. You need someone balancing books and running 40 huge buildings full of adults and kids on a daily basis. It’s a huge responsibility."
And having spent his life in education, Borys now plans to take a little time for himself.
"It’s been great fun, but now it’s time to go," Borys said, the day before his retirement.
"I think driving away tomorrow will be like riding off on my bicycle for the summer," he added.
"I think some quiet time for a while, then some travelling. I’ve been going to school 50 years and school’s out for me now."
When Brothers’ appointment was announced, the Riverview resident acknowledged he would have some big shoes to fill.
"Terry is hardworking, passionate about the work and has a tremendous heart for the division," Brothers said in July.