Posted by: kbater | June 23, 2012

Teach your children well – Brian Callaghan did!

Young Brian – ready to step out into life


Brian with students

Oh what a celebration and how it reflected the person being honoured.

Can you imagine 38 years in education, 22 years in the Bow Valley and 19 years as Superintendent for Canadian Rockies Public Schools – what memories and stories Brian Callaghan gets to take away and what a legacy of caring and learning he is leaving behind. 

On June 21st students, teachers, support staff, trustees, community members, our MLA, Mayor’s and councilors, former trustees and provincial guests attended Brian’s retirement party at the Fenlands in Banff.  Brian was keen to have it at the newly built Banff hockey and curling complex as it demonstrated yet another community partnership that he played a key part in.  When the old Lawrence Grassi School in Canmore was torn down a few years ago most of the building was recycled as part of the LEEDS project of building the new school to adhere to these strict environmental construction standards.  The laminate beams from the school where then used to help build the Fenlands. 

Grade 3 students honouring Brian – standing in the background – laminate beams up above


Some Grade 3 students from Banff Elementary School presented Brian with their observations of him as Superintendent – in a way it was his report card.  They had glowing comments that captured Brian’s gift of really paying attention to people, listening, and being interested in their ideas and their lives. 



There were stories of Brian from principals, teachers, administrators and there was a definite theme – Brian as a compassionate leader who focused on developing the whole child, the whole teacher/staff person, and who really believed in and actively pursued a community approach to education.  These are the themes from the CRPS Inspiring Hearts and Minds work and Brian was a key driver, key supporter, and in many ways embodied that approach with the way he worked and lived his life.

Brian’s family made many sacrifices as he gave so much time to his role and they had some great stories to tell also – they called him Superintendo and in turn they were called the hypens as they joined together Brian and Helmi’s last names – the Bracco-Callaghans.  Helmi was the picture of love watching her daughter Anna-Lisa speak for the family.  Ben and Alex were there and Laura was away on business. 

I mentioned in my words that a few years ago we had a student hearing where a parent had made an appeal to the board.  We did not find in favour of the appeal but Brian gave the board his personal assurance that he would monitor this student and ensure that his needs were met.  He wasn’t there to win the appeal, he was there to make things right for this child – that is what I respect and love about how Brian wore the hat of Superintendent.

Brian loves music, he plays guitar and my wife Mandi and Brian’s friend Tom Tomson played a song that Helmi and Mandi cooked up based on a Beatles tune. They revised it to say “Here comes the Fun, It’s all right”.  It is alright Brian – it is your time now – Enjoy!

p.s. Brian is such a role model for being a teacher, educator, community volunteer…   Here is one of Brian’s favourite songs that tells his story well!



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