It’s “Time”

We have all likely heard at some point, a remark or comment made to us that “Timing is everything.” When something happens, good or otherwise you can probably attribute it to some sort of timing. More than that, one of our earlier Directors of Education, Jack McMaster, used to say to me, that “Timing was (in fact) everything, and that sometimes we felt the time wasn’t right, or not our time, but that you never knew until you went for it.” I suppose like most mentors, you look at the individual giving you advice, and question whether they knew what in fact they are talking about. Jack did, and in my opinion, Jack was right.

I purposely did not send out a post on the Friday before the annual “May Long Weekend” like I might usually have in the past, not because I didn’t want to wish you all “tight lines” out on the water this past weekend; but rather I felt the timing wasn’t right. However, I do now today, as we begin this final push towards the end of another school year. However, and more important than this bit of classic “Northern Ontario-ness” of the opening weekend of fishing, time at camp, and sitting around a fire with your sons; the concept of “Time” has taken on an evocative and very visceral new meaning for me of late.

A few weeks ago a very close confidant and personal friend shared with me, that they had read my blogs since I started sending them; everyone from the past six years. And from that undertaking, they had discovered that the pervasive theme in and out of most of my musings, was around “Time”. On occasion, it was about the times we were in or the challenges we were facing at that time. Or maybe in a few cases at that particular time in the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board, our experiences, trials and maybe even successes were unprecedented. That seemed to strike my memory. However, what amazed me even more and made me stop and take stock was what has happened during that time, to us as an organization, to our schools, our staff, our students to be sure, our communities certainly…and to be very candid, to myself personally.

I suspect that many of you have at some point in the last year, asked yourself where has the time gone? And what does the future hold, and what does my time ahead look like, feel like, and where is it going to take us? The KPDSB that I became Director of Education of six years ago, is a very, very different organization now then it was then, and I feel that is a good thing. I am of the belief that we all want the next person to inherit our school, our classroom, our department, or the entire organization in a little better shape than we assumed it when we started. And that process becomes perpetual and progressive and constantly maturing and growing.

At this time, and at this place, it is our time as an organization to show itself who we have become, how strong and resilient we are, and how incredibly respected we are viewed from across the province and across the country. In one day’s time, we will officially open our new high school, Sioux North High School in Sioux Lookout with guests from across the country. For many, this is a lifetime achievement that some thought never possible and never to happen. For myself, the numbers of “times” I was told that the chances of landing this capital project were less than miniscule and that I was, in fact, wasting “my time” with such a proposition. And yet, in one day we will welcome the Minister of Education, the Deputy Minister and Assistant Deputies; Grand Chiefs and First Nation Leaders, nationally renowned artists, students, former Directors of Education and retired staff. We will welcome the former Premier of Ontario, and the former Minister of Education as well, and numerous politicians. I am particularly pleased that Tanya Talaga will be joining us; and of course our kids, the entire reason we ask ourselves what is our human obligation, to young people…yes, they will be there too.

In some ways, six years have flown by…I can’t believe it’s gone. And in others, it has felt at various points that “time has stood still.” This week, I hope that all who know us, and are associated with the KPDSB, both past and present will see what we have accomplished and feel that it is “our time”. I hope that our visitors and former system leaders will see us the first-class organization that I believe we are. In fact, simply put “It’s time”. It’s time to look ahead to new opportunities, it’s time to look back and see what has been accomplished, and it’s time to consider all around us and gauge where the future will take us. I had honestly little clue of how surreptitiously the notion of time had played into my own thinking until, as I said it was pointed out to me, causing me to really think about why that was. There is a reason for it I suspect, and when looking ahead to the events planned this week, have really caused me to wonder what the future holds.

Timing is indeed everything, and all things good and otherwise do happen for a reason; sometimes we are not meant to know what for a long time, and others we learn the lessons immediately; the bigger question then becomes what are we going to do differently? I am excited about “our time”; and I am excited that even with uncertainty lying ahead, we have made the most of our time, and with it contributed a positive impact. As Joan said to me in the truck last week en route to Dryden, time impacts all of us, and that I had crammed ten years of work into six. It is now time to look back and reflect, but also look ahead to future possibilities. We have one month to go, the time will fly by; you know that to be guaranteed. I ask you to make the most of it and have an impact on those around you in the process.

Congratulation Sioux North; this has been a long “Time” coming; enjoy your day in the sun!