Glenn Borthistle speaks at a recent meeting in Enderby. He is leaving his duties as North Okanagan-Shuswap School District superintendent. (Richard Rolke/Morning Star)

LETTER: Superintendent will be missed

With the current school district changes occurring, I think it important to publicly offer some clarity.

Often we take for granted that our schools are well functioning and bringing quality education to our students. We assume that leaders are interchangeable. The actuality is that leadership matters.

When our previous school board was dissolved, many probably did not question it. The appearance was that things were in disarray. The appearance was also that bad financial decisions had been made. I don’t think that either was accurate. It was, perhaps, true that there needed to be better definitive communication on the common practices of budget allocations, and that failing led to a mistaken conclusion that available millions had been improperly spent. As well, the disagreements on the board were viewed as bad. In fact, disagreements should be viewed as healthy.

But the more focused point of this letter is to attest to the quality of our departing school superintendent, Glenn Borthistle.

His leadership was imbued with a deep commitment to the well-being of students, teachers and administrators. His honesty, approachability, lack of pretense, intelligence and respect for relationships is unexceeded. Similarly, his fortitude in working with competing and often complex stakeholder interests has been unexceeded. The bedrock of leadership is the personal authenticity of the leader and the willingness to put aside one’s own ego in order to serve the needs of others. From those qualities everything is possible.

We are losing an exemplary leader in this school district. We are losing an exemplary human.

Calvin White