He’s not leaving right this minute but Joe Rhodes, superintendent of schools for the Cowichan Valley School District, announced on Jan. 8 that he is retiring after 37 years in public education.
Rhodes has advised the Cowichan Valley Board of Education that, "with a new board in place and labour peace for the next few years, this is an ideal time to continue the development of an exciting, engaging, positive learning culture in the Cowichan Valley."
He also said that if he was a few years younger, he would "relish the opportunity to lead the district in such a climate."
It has been a busy time for him. Rhodes has been everywhere during his eight year tenure with the district, serving first as director of middle/secondary education and then as superintendent.
Some of the projects he’s helped bring to fruition include the entire reorganization of the district’s schools and the deepening of connections with Vancouver Island University.
He also helped steer the district through the acrimonious province-wide teachers’ strike.
Rhodes said he is "particularly grateful to have had the privilege of working with his administrative team, a team filled with wisdom, enthusiasm and hope for a bright future for kids."
Many of the new board of education have worked with Rhodes for some time.
Candace Spilsbury, recently elected chair of the board, said on hearing of the announcement,
"Mr. Rhodes has been our educational leader for many years and is responsible for initiating many innovative, successful programs, particularly in aboriginal education, careers and trades programs. It is with great respect and thanks that the board congratulates Mr. Rhodes and wishes him a wonderful retirement."
The search for a new superintendent will begin shortly.