Creating a Positive Legacy for the Future: Retirement Celebration

June 11, 2019

Forty-four retirees.  Forty-four people who’ve made a difference in the lives of others.

Last night, the Langley School District honoured its employees who were ending their career.  Some who’ve dedicated more than three decades to the District. Superintendent Gord Stewart opened the event by thanking them for their years of service.

“You chose to be here. You chose to be in Langley,” said Stewart.

The honourees were a mix of principals, teachers and staff. All of them have helped achieve the District’s mission to inspire all learners to reach their full potential and create a lasting legacy for the future.

Reggie Chudyk who is ending his long career as a custodian at Dorothy Peacock Elementary said, “This is the best job I’ve ever had.”

When asked why, he mentioned it was because of the leaders and the staff he worked with.

Here are profile highlights of just a handful of retirees. The profiles have been created by principals and supervisors. Thank you for all your hard work over the years and good luck in your future endeavours!

Alice Boyd – Executive Assistant

The School District was certainly lucky to hire Alice Boyd from KPU 13 years ago as an Executive Assistant.  Alice has been a mainstay at the SBO doing so much more than just supporting District Leadership staff.  Throughout the years, Alice has become a friend and support to many.  She always finds time to lend a helpful hand, encourage you when you need it, and listen like you are the most important person in the world.  She has brought warmth and care to whomever she collaborated with.  Alice lives by the adage that if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.  Therefore, always remained positive and supportive even in the toughest times.

As a part of Alice’s portfolio, she was the first contact for parent concerns.  She certainly had the right mindset and personality to calm down even the angriest mom or dad who entered the walls of the SBO or connected via telephone.  In this task, Alice found her strength and her voice while dealing with the most upset parents; she refused to allow them to take their aggression out on her, and found a way to sternly, but respectfully, ask parents to communicate their concerns.

In retirement, Alice hopes to travel lots.  She and her husband Larry have just come back from a trip to Thailand and have already made plans for another trip to Palm Dessert and Disneyland in the Fall.  Alice’s kind and empathic personality will be hard to replace at the SBO, but we wish her all the best in her well-deserved retirement!

Wendy Cook – Teacher

After an impressive 38-year teaching career, it goes without saying that Wendy has done it all in the world of education.  Wendy started teaching at 22 and spent the first 3 years of her career in the Catholic system.  Langley was fortunate to land Wendy, and after 4 months of TTOC’ing and 6 months at H.D. Stafford, she landed at D.W. Poppy where she spent the remainder of her teaching career.  At Poppy, Wendy taught pretty much everything. She also served as Department Head for about a decade.  For the past three years, Wendy has served Langley teachers tremendously in her role as LTA president.

In addition to her work in the classroom, Wendy was also hugely involved in many other aspects of Poppy.  She served as a teacher sponsor for many student groups and coached numerous sport teams.  Wendy also served as Pro-D Chair, Staff Committee Chair and staff rep for more years than she can remember.

As someone who wanted to be a teacher since she was in kindergarten, Wendy clearly loved teaching and impacting the lives of others in a positive way.  As she heads off into a well-deserved retirement, Wendy looks forward to spending more time with her husband Maynard, son Liam and step-daughters Alana and Jessica. Congratulations Wendy!

Reggie Chudyk – Custodian

Reggie joined the Langley School District in the year 2000. By 2003, he posted into a position at Dorothy Peacock Elementary, and would remain there for the duration of his career in Langley. He has worked tirelessly to make sure that his school is always up to district standards, even during the times that he had to work with outdated equipment. Needless to say, you can only imagine how excited Reggie was when the district was able to replenish a new auto scrubber and burnisher at Dorothy Peacock. The floors are still sparkly clean!

Reggie, on behalf of the Custodial Department, we wish you a new journey of success and happiness in this chapter of your life.

May you be showered with abundant opportunities to do what your heart desires. Happy retirement!

Tracy Lee-McCall – Teacher

Tracy Lee-McCall, more commonly known as Mrs. Lee to her students, was first hired by the Langley School District in June 1986.  By September 1986, Tracy was working her first Term contract at Langley Secondary, and that was where she would stay, becoming an “LSS Lifer” until her retirement on January 31, 2019.

Over the course of her career, Tracy would show off her many talents by teaching several courses in many different departments. Eventually, Tracy returned to her first love as the Senior Foods teacher for the final years of her career.  As a Foods teacher, Tracy taught her students about Excellence.  While she was a patient and generous teacher, Tracy also expected students to do their best.  Tracy helped her students truly combine the Art and the Science of cooking and baking.

Tracy always demonstrated an obvious and formidable commitment to her students.  Before her retirement, Tracy happened to meet a former student of hers at a local dress shop.  By the end of the conversation, Tracy had a commitment from this shop to provide a dress, free of charge, to an LSS student in need, to ensure that this student would be able to attend our Graduation Dinner and Dance. Yes, Tracy Lee was, and is, a champion of her students, and a credit to the teaching profession.

Kris Oskarsson – Teacher

There is a quote that includes the phrases, “Go Places. Seek out the Good. Do What You Love. Give Back! Love. Make a Difference. Laugh … A Lot. Breathe Deeply. Enjoy the Journey.” – Kris Oskarsson has embraced these maxims. Kris taught Chemistry, Science, Math … but really, he taught students. He inspired their passion for learning, he encouraged their dreams and plans, and he shared stories with them … lots and lots of stories. Kris was a master storyteller – and found the most ingenious and unique ways in which to embed them within his lessons.

Kris helped students explore acid rain, electrochemical cells, chemical reactions, the effect of  Potassium Bisulphite as a food preserver and Nano-particles … but he also celebrated swimming with manta-rays, the incredible galleries and museums in Florence, Italy and the impact of climate change on his beloved Puffins. He shared the lessons he learned exploring his native Iceland and the inspiration those youthful discoveries had on his love for Science … but most importantly, Kris shared his wisdom, his laughter, and his love for, and with, his students.

Congratulations on your retirement. Thank you for making such an enormous difference in the lives of so many students and colleagues! Continue to seek opportunities to Explore, Create and to Inspire!

Angelo Pulice – Teacher

From early in his career, it was clear that Angelo was a natural leader among his peers.  First hired to the District in September 1981, Angelo quickly landed on his feet at HD Stafford Secondary.  Within a few years, Angelo was already named a Department Head, a role that he held continuously for over 30 years. Angelo remained at HD Stafford until the amalgamation with Langley Secondary, making the move to the home of the Saints in 2008, where he has remained until his retirement at the end of June 2019.

While Angelo has many strengths, what best characterizes his impact is how he connects with people.  He is a person who commands the respect of those he works with, both students and staff.  He is often consulted for his opinion and is seen as a peacemaker by his colleagues. Someone who can roll with whatever new challenges confront him, but also knowing the difference between right and wrong.

Undoubtedly, Angelo’s presence will be missed at LSS, as he shifts in dedicating his time from his students to his grandchildren. Our loss will be his family’s gain.  Best wishes, Angelo!

Neera Sandhu – Family Support Worker

Neera started in the Langley in 1995. Prior to arriving in Langley, she lived in the booming metropolis of McKenzie BC, where she worked for the Ministry of Children and Families. She joined the Langley School District working as an itinerant Youth Care Worker. She had the pleasure of supporting many schools in that capacity before making stops at Route 32, Murryville’s District program, in a Family Support role.

In 1997 she joined the team at Betty Gilbert Elementary in that same capacity and has remained there ever since. She has worked in the District Program at Betty Gilbert then moving to her familiar Family Support Worker role when the school transitioned to a Middle School. Neera feels as though the highlight of her career has been working with this age range of students as it presents the most enjoyability for her to work with. She has been a wonderful addition to BGMS and her infectious laughter can be heard in the halls daily. She will be missed greatly.

Her retirement plans include reading and travelling with England, Scotland and Ireland at the top of her destinations. Everyone at BGMS wishes Neera all the best in the future and expects postcards from the highlands of Scotland.

Jim Shogren – Custodian

Jim joined the District in 1993, working first with the Grounds Department. A couple of years later, Jim posted into the Custodial department and has worked primarily at Langley Fine Arts and DW Poppy Secondary ever since.

Jim’s retirement came as a bit of a surprise, especially when Gordana received a text from Jim that read “Just put my retirement notice in. Can’t let Jake have all the fun”. The jokes, the laughter, and most of all your support especially during times of need, will be missed greatly. Work will not be the same without you.

Retirement is equalled to freedom. We hope that you will enjoy doing things that you haven’t had time for before. Wishing you a new journey of success and happiness in this chapter of your life. Congratulations Jim!

Jamie Thomas – Teacher

As a young boy in Nova Scotia, Jamie Thomas decided he wanted to be a music teacher, and never turned back. His decision has impacted many generations who have been fortunate to have him as a teacher.  He began his career in the Northwest Territories as a K to 12 music teacher, then served in New Brunswick as a Secondary Music teacher.

He came to Langley, where he taught another 29 years, 28 of them at Belmont Elementary as a K to 7 music teacher.  Throughout his 38-year career, he has produced and directed 14 musicals, presented countless Christmas concerts, and taught with the Langley Ukulele ensemble for 22 years.  He has not only composed music students love, but describes the privilege and joy of hearing children sing his compositions year after year.

He looks forward to teaching music in his retirement, as that is his “gig”, but hopes for some flexibility too.  He wants to travel to Italy and Ireland and spend time with his beautiful wife Wendy, his three daughters and sweet grandchild.  All the best, Jamie!

Lynie Tener – Teacher

Lynie began her career in Abbotsford. She taught primary at Ross Elementary and McMillan Elementary for 6 years before Langley was fortunate enough to land her for the last 27 years of her teaching career.  During her time in Langley, Lynie taught at Fort Langley Jr and Langley Fine Arts before arriving at Brookswood in 1998 where she spent the majority of her secondary teaching career.  Eventually, Lynie was wooed to the School Board Office by Gord Stewart, where she spent the next 4 and a half years working in the Instructional Services Department.

As Lynie neared the end of her career, she was lured back to the classroom by her love of the students, as well as the opportunity to finish her career at Poppy alongside her husband, Greg.  A master teacher with an incredible tool kit, Lynie excels at moving students forward in their learning and has a deep passion for teaching and learning. She will be missed both at Poppy and across the district.

Although Lynie will greatly miss teaching and her students, she is looking forward to retirement and spending quality time with Greg at their beautiful home, or travelling around the globe with Greg and her retiring sidekick, Laurel, and her husband Dave.

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