July 29, 2016 - 6:30 PM
KAMLOOPS - The man who has spent decades teaching and mentoring students in the Kamloops area is saying goodbye to his career.
Karl deBruijn has been with the Kamloops Thompson School district for 39 years, and today, July 29, marks his last as superintendent.
deBruijn says he's excited to try new things, but nervous to take the plunge.
"You should be jumping up in joy saying 'Oh I'm retired' but I'm a little nervous now," deBruijn says. "But I'm still excited about all the opportunities."
deBruijn has been a teacher, principal, district resource teacher, and a director of student support services.
One of his most memorable roles, he says, was when he ran McQueen Lake Education Centre as a resource teacher.
"I spent probably 10 to 12 years looking over that specifically," deBruijn says. "It's kind of a unique job... when youre running an operation like McQueen Lake."
deBruijn says one of the most rewarding parts of that job is seeing students he used to teach now establishing careers for themselves.
"There's doctors, there's bankers, there's mechanics. That’s pretty rewarding. That’s one of the treasures of a long career."
deBruijn says he has learned valuable things from every sector he's worked in and will take those lessons with him.
"The honest truth is, every job I've had has offered me new experiences. I've enjoyed every one of those jobs," deBruijn said. "Its been a privilege and an honour to have served in this district. I know everyone says that but I sincerely mean it."
deBruijn plans to spend his retirement doing things he never had time for while working for the district, including travelling.
"I'm fascinated by the Arctic. That’s on my bucket list... travel and explore the environment up north."
Although it's tough to step away from, deBruijn says the district will be left in great hands.
Alison Sidow is taking over the superintendent role and has been the assistant superintendent for about four years. Rob Schoen will take over as assistant superintendent for elementary schools and Bill Hamblett will take over as assistant superintendent for secondary schools.
"Although there are new people in those roles they’re not new in the district," deBruijn says. "All in all I'm leaving the district in very good hands and I see nothing but a bright future for the district."
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