Red Deer Public School District Superintendent Don Falk announced on Monday that he plans to retire in July 2010, after 37 years in public education.
Falk began his teaching career in suburban Vancouver and then moved to Kelowna, B.C., where he started his career in school administration.
Falk, 59, joined the Red Deer Public School District 25 years ago, first working as vice principal at G.W. Smith Elementary School, then as principal at North Elementary School and at École Oriole Park School. During the last 14 years, he has worked as assistant superintendent for Red Deer Public Schools, deputy superintendent and has been superintendent since 2000.
“I’d like to express my thanks to the four different boards of trustees with whom I’ve worked for, their support and encouragement over the past 10 years in particular. Doing the job that I do is just not possible without a strong relationship between the board and the superintendent,” Falk said. “I’m really very grateful for their support and that goes for the community as a whole as well.”
Falk said visiting classrooms is the highlight for him because he gets to see what the children have learned and see them engaged in the process of learning.
He is pleased with how supports have improved for students with special needs over the last number of years and how those students have been included in regular classrooms.
He said he is also pleased with the expanded opportunities for all students in second languages, fine arts, career and technology studies and programs of choice within the district, as well as the construction of Mattie McCullough School, the modernization of Lindsay Thurber and the renovations at G.H. Dawe.
Falk said he is proud of the many things that have occurred in the school district, but is reluctant to take credit for them because he is aware of the efforts of a whole host of people to make positive things happen for public school students.
In his retirement, Falk plans to spend time with his wife Judy, four children, two sons-in-law and three grandsons.
Bill Stuebing, chair of the Red Deer Public School District board, said Falk has made a very significant contribution and he will be missed.
“When we say that striving for excellence and inspiring learning and nurturing hope is our mission, it’s a mission we have rather faithfully observed and a very large part of it has to do with Don (Falk’s) leadership,” Stuebing said.