Education director to retire this summer
By Chad Ingram
School will be out this summer in a big way for Larry Hope.
Hope, who’s been director of the Trillium Lakelands District School Board for the past decade, announced last week that he will retire at the end of July, officially tendering his resignation during a school board meeting.
He makes no bones that the position has been the pinnacle of his professional life.
“This has absolutely been the highlight of my career to be here for the last 10 years,” Hope says, speaking glowingly of the students, teaching staff, support staff and trustees of the board.
Hope has worked in education for 30 years, beginning his career as a teacher in the small town of Ignace, Ont., then working his way through teaching, vice-principal and principal positions in other communities throughout northwestern Ontario, such as Sioux Lookout.
Hope is originally from Thunder Bay.
“I’m transplant down here,” he says, adding how much he loves the area.
He then moved into senior positions at the board level, and was director of the Keewatin-Patricia District School Board, which includes a large swath of northwestern Ontario, before taking the helm of TLDSB.
Hope says the greatest singular change he’s seen in education during his three decades in the vocation has been the rise of technology in schools in the past 10 to 15 years, transforming everything from the way educational programming is delivered to the way students are evaluated.
“Teaching and learning really haven’t changed a whole bunch,” he notes, adding that while the platforms may have become more technologically advanced, education is still fundamentally about teachers connecting with students.
Hope speaks very highly of the board’s teachers and students, the strength of relationships and the growing culture of inclusion he’s seen throughout the school board during his tenure.
“Those are things I’m so grateful for,” he says.
As for what someone who’s held a role with so many responsibilities will do with his soon-to-be newfound free time, Hope says he intends to spend more time with his fishing rod than he’s been able to, as well as travel with wife Jane and spend time at their home in Reaboro (just outside Lindsay), where they have animals including horses.
“We’re just going to do the things we enjoy doing,” he says. The couple’s two children will both be off pursuing their post-secondary education.
Hope is also a member of the board of governors for Lindsay’s Ross Memorial Hospital and sits on some provincial committees, and expects to continue on with that work, as well as do some consulting, thus still doing work in education, but in a different capacity.
He repeatedly stresses his appreciation for the students, staff and board trustees of TLDSB.
“I’ve had amazing support from trustees,” Hope says. “We have a group of trustees who care incredibly about kids, far more than politics, and that makes an incredible difference.”
“I’m forever grateful to the people who make the system what it is,” he says.
Hope’s last official day with the board is July 31.