Mr. McGowan, Thanks for the Memories

For the past 16 years at Holy Redeemer, and the previous 12 years to that at Vanier, Mr. Bill McGowan has been an inspiration in the lives of the many students who attended and graduated from the schools. But now, after 33 years of teaching, McGowan is retiring from teaching.

“It’s time,” says McGowan. “I’ve enjoyed every second of the teaching world, but it is time to move on.”

McGowan began teaching in 1986 in New Norway after graduating from university in 1985. After spending a year there, he and his wife, Stacy, moved to Fort Vermillion where they taught together for three years. Then, in 1990, they moved to Edson where they have made a home for the past 29 years.

McGowan taught at Vanier when the school was still a Kindergarten to grade 12 school. “I taught just about everything,” he says. “I basically taught all the junior and senior high math and social studies classes.” Based on this, there were no students who didn’t know him and respect him. McGowan was also very much a favourite of many graduating students as seen in the number of times he acted as the Masters of Ceremonies at the year-end Graduation Banquet. “They certainly asked me a lot,” he says. And because of the outstanding rapport he has built with the students he was able to share many stories of the Grads in their younger years.

In 2003, McGowan moved to Holy Redeemer and he became the school’s Assistant Principal in 2006. He then spent the last three years as the school’s Principal. But no matter what position he held, McGowan still held a strong rapport with the students. He was even committed to staying in the classroom while he was an administrator so he taught grade 7 math. “This was a great way for me to meet every new student who entered our school,” he says. From there, the connections he made in grade 7 continued on throughout the students’ schooling all the way to grade 12.

As a result of his commitment to stay in the classroom, McGowan even had the pleasure to teach both his kids when they went to school at HRH. “That is probably one of the most special moments in my teaching career,” he says.

When asked what he will miss most about teaching, McGowan was quick to answer: “The connections with the students. This is why I got into teaching in the first place. And the students at HRH are the best.”

Staff members at Holy Redeemer truly respected McGowan as well. “He is a true leader,” says Assistant Principal Diane Williams who served with McGowan on the school’s administration team for the past ten years. “Just watching him interact with the students and parents is amazing. He has a natural ability to do this. I consider him an outstanding teacher, principal, and friend. I speak on behalf of all the students, staff and community members, he will be greatly missed.”

“He has a great ability to be a strong leader and have personal connections with all of the staff,” says teacher Paul Tobin. “He trusted us to know what is happening in our classrooms and with our students. This is why our school is such a positive place.”

Next year, the school’s Principal will be Betty Churchill, and when asked if he has any advice for her, McGowan said, “Trust the staff. They know what’s happening.”

Now that the end of the school year is almost here, McGowan is looking to next year and his future plans. “I’m looking forward to doing what I want, when I want,” says McGowan with a smile. “This school community is truly fantastic, but it’s time for a change.”

With a few days left, be sure to drop by HRH and say goodbye to one of Edson’s longest serving and most respected teachers. A man who will be deeply missed by everyone he taught, worked with, and inspired.