École Barrie Wilson Elementary School is the name of the Red Deer Public Schools’ new elementary school in Timberlands.
Slated to open in September 2014, the kindergarten to Grade 5 school is named after a teacher who has a passion for second language education.
Barrie Wilson, 74, was on hand with family and friends at the special board meeting where school board revealed the name.
Wilson spent 34 of his 42-year career within the Red Deer Public Schools.
His teaching career began in 1961 in Quebec and he joined the Eastview Junior School High teaching staff in 1969.
He retired in 2003 as principal of École Intermédiare Central Middle School.
Throughout his career, Wilson, who is fluently bilingual, was a strong advocate for second language education and French immersion.
He was a physical education teacher that exemplified healthy and active living. Wilson also worked with young teachers as a field experience advisor for the Red Deer College/University of Alberta Middle Years Education Program.
“I’m usually one to be short for words,” said Wilson about the honour. “I was dumbfounded. I was overwhelmed. It’s an honour.”
Supt. Piet Langstraat said Wilson embodied everything the school district stands for — incredible educator, an excellent community member who has touched the lives of countless individuals in our school district and throughout this community.
Langstraat said it is interesting the school was named after a living person and not someone who has already passed way or a landmark in the city.
“The committee had quite a discussion about that,” said Langstraat.
“At the end of the day, (local historian) Michael Dawe said the reason you name a school after an individual is so that person is not forgotten in the community.
Barrie is the type of individual who certainly should never be forgotten in the community of Red Deer.”
Oriole Park School principal Chris Good, who will be École Barrie Wilson Elementary School principal said naming the school after Wilson is fitting.
“He is revered by teachers and administrators and anybody that has worked with him,” said Good. “He’s really the embodiment of all we want to see in a school.”
Wilson is married to Sue, also a retired teacher, and has four children including daughter Amanda who is a Grade 3 teacher at École Mountview Elementary School.
He has five grandchildren. When not enjoying his retirement, Wilson can be found volunteering in his daughter’s classroom.