Consultant, Motivational Speaker,
Sessional Professor, Administrator, Teacher
I am an ordinary son, brother, husband, father, and educator who has been blessed with an extraordinary life. I believe God provided this life with the purpose of giving thanks by giving back. The good news is as a son, brother, husband, father, and educator I have been given over 55 years (so far) to “thoughtfully fail”. And the better news is that now I get the chance to tell people how I thoughtfully failed and what I learned from it all.
I got to grow up in Taber, Alberta……population 5000. My parents were Japanese Canadians who had to live through the trauma of being interned after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in World War II. Everything was taken from them and they had to start new lives in southern Alberta. Their whole purpose in life was to have children and to make sure their kids lives were better than theirs. Our dad was a mechanic and my mom worked in a factory that canned vegetables. We were not wealthy in a material sense but both of our parents worked their tails off so their children were taken care of. My two brothers, sister and I never went without. They made sure that all their children had the opportunity to attend post-secondary education because they didn’t have the chance to go themselves.
I received my education degree from the University of Calgary with the intention of going back to Taber and begin my career. In order to pay my rent, I started subbing with the Calgary Catholic School District. Fortunately, I never left until I retired 32 years later. I earned my Masters Degree in Educational Administration from Gonzaga University in 1992. After being a principal for 8 years and then an Instructional Services Special Education Supervisor for 6, I wanted to finish my career back in a school with kids. I had been a principal with all grades of students from K-12. I wanted and needed something different so I applied to be the principal at Our Lady of Lourdes School. Our Lady of Lourdes was created for our most complex and behavioral students. Students get placed at this school after being highly unsuccessful in a number of other settings mostly due to their severe behavior. I got to spend two amazing years at this school and got to help the most vulnerable and needy students in our district.
My career had come full circle. I learned so much from helping principals, teachers and support staff as a supervisor and then got to put these strategies into practice my last 2 years. As I entered my last year it dawned on me that I have a responsibility to share what I have learned with others who are still in the field. I had 32 years to thoughtfully fail and learn from. I know what works and what doesn’t. Not to share this knowledge would be selfish and irresponsible. This made my decision to retire much easier.
I believe my calling or purpose is to share my experiences and knowledge to help others. As a leader who has worked with diverse and complex students there is the right way and wrong way.