by Derek Cornet

A 30-year career in education is coming to an end later this month for Carpenter High School (CHS) principal Larry Waterman.

His last day on the job is June 30 and current vice-principal Trevor Gerwing will transition into the role immediately thereafter. Waterman began teaching in Meadow Lake in 1996, but quickly became a vice-principal at Carpenter and remained so for eight years until he was promoted to his current position in 2007.

“I’ve been looking at it for a year or two,” Waterman said of his retirement. “I still enjoy the staff and the students. I will miss them quite a bit. I am still going to work part-time and hopefully that will still be part of my life. I also have a sick mother, so it is the right time.”

Originally from Sydney, Nova Scotia, Waterman’s first teaching job was in the Bahamas, but he moved back to Canada and found a job at the Beauval Indian Education Centre before finally settling in Meadow Lake. In total, Waterman worked at CHS for 21 years mostly as an administrator and he said one of the most exciting times was moving into the new Carpenter building in 2001.

“It’s a beautiful school and it was state of the art at the time,” he commented, noting CHS used to be where Gateway Elementary School is located today. “We’ve seen ups and downs in our student population. The old school just didn’t seem big enough. During the mid 2000s and right up to about two or three years ago, our population was going up and now it’s levelled off and even dropping a little bit.”

Throughout the years, Waterman also had the opportunity to work in close quarters with his wife, Carla Waterman, who is a guidance councillor at the school. He said it too had its ups and downs, but it was a good experience and their three children had both parents close.

As for advice, Waterman noted the key in education is to have students the main focus all the time. He also said people need to be passionate about working for kids in order to have a successful career.

“I often say we’re all educators whether we’re educational assistants or teachers, administrators or central office workers – no one is more important than any other,” Waterman explained. “Education as a whole is changing a little bit and you need open-minded and enthusiastic people to take up that career choice.”

Meanwhile, after nine years as a school vice-principal, Gerwing feels lucky to be chosen as Waterman’s replacement. He’s grateful for the opportunity and is excited to lead the school.

“I’ve learned a lot from Larry,” Gerwing stated. “We’ll miss his sense of humour and energy. He’s a good friend and it’s emotional to say goodbye, but he’s leaving the school in good shape and he will leave a powerful legacy.”