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This article was published 7/6/2019 (391 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
It’s been over 30 years since she first started working in the field of education, but Diana Posthumus is still passionate about what she does.
"I’ve loved every single job I’ve worked in," the River East Collegiate principal said. "I loved it just because of the people, the kids and families, that you get to work with."
On June 28, Posthumus will be retiring from a 36-year career that started in the Interlake School Division.
"I wanted to leave while I was really still enjoying the work," she said. "I will miss what I do dearly, because I really do love the people."
"Diana is one of the most knowledgeable, caring, and effective administrators you could ever hope to work with," Angie Cieszecki and Jordan Zoppa, vice-principals at River East Collegiate, wrote in an email to The Herald. "Young people know that she cares, and staff always appreciate the wisdom that she has to share."
A River East Collegiate graduate herself, Posthumus grew up in East St. Paul.
"That was before it was a place that anyone wanted to live," Posthumus laughed. "It was considered the sticks."
She still lives in East St. Paul today with her husband Charles, who is a councillor for the rural municipality.
"I went through the old Birds Hill School, Dr. Hamilton, Robert Andrews, and River East," she recalled.
After graduating from River East, Posthumus played basketball as a student athlete for the University of Winnipeg Wesmen. She then transferred to the University of Manitoba to complete her degree in education.
It was surreal when I first came back here to be principal of the high school I graduated from.
"I saw the beauty of education, which is a gift for everyone," Posthumus recalled. "We have the opportunity and privilege of helping kids and families, really, along their path to education."
After a few years in Teulon and Stony Mountain, Posthumus landed a job at Kildonan East Collegiate working with students with special needs before becoming a consultant for student support services for what was then still the River East School Division.
"I had the real privilege of working with all the resource teachers and special needs students across the division," she said.
After completing further education specializing in special education, counselling and administration, Posthumus landed the vice-principal position at KEC. She worked there for five years, then took on the role of principal across the park at Valley Gardens Middle School for a few years before returning to KEC, where she was principal for 10 years.
"Now I’ve been at River East here for five years," she said. "It was surreal when I first came back here to be the principal of the high school I graduated from. It’s kind of coming full circle."
Posthumus estimates that she has been lucky to witness over 6,000 students graduate from high school in her time as a vice-principal or principal.
"I’ve had the privilege of watching lots of kids cross the stage and shake their hand when they graduate," she said. "That’s pretty cool. My picture must be on a few walls."
Along with those highlights, Posthumus admitted there have been plenty of challenging moments as well, including the deaths of students and staff.
"Those difficult situations really brings out who people are, and strengthens your community," she said. "You get to know about yourself and the people you have around you."
The importance of building and maintaining relationships, Posthumus said, is key to achieving success in education.
"There will be things that come and go all the time, fantastic initiatives, curriculum changes, moving into the 21st century learning," she said. "But if you have a good relationship with families, they will learn whatever the curriculum of the day is and that will take them much further than they would normally go."
Once the halls have cleared out for summer, Posthumus isn’t quite sure what she’ll do to occupy her time. And that’s perfectly alright with her.
"I don’t have any plans," she said. "I’d like to travel, go to the gym, I’ll probably end up coaching somewhere, giving back somehow, but I’m kind of just going to let things unfold. And I’m going to enjoy it."
Community journalist — The Herald
Sheldon Birnie is the community journalist for The Herald Email him at email@example.com Call him at 204-697-7112
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