After 27 years of working in public education, the last 2 of which were spent as President of the Prince George District Teachers’ Association, Richard Giroday is retiring.
He became a teacher when he was 39. Giroday says it has been an extremely rewarding career. “Greatest career you could ever have. Seriously. When I wrote my letter of resignation was probably the very, very reflective many hours as I actually wrote that letter thinking about my career over the years and the impact you have on young people. That’s the part that really struck me as I looked back, because you don’t know the impact you have until a young person comes to you two years, three years after they graduated and says ‘Mr. Giroday, I don’t know whether you know this or not but this is what you did in my life’… and those things, you can never be paid enough to be able to do those things for people.”
The new incoming President is Joanne Hapke. “She is currently the 1st Vice President, she will serve the members exceptionally well,” says Giroday. “She is a long-term member of the Executive and she was Treasurer for 15 years, so she has a lot of experience both at the provincial level and the local level. We are very excited to have her as President.”
“Some of the things I am looking forward to is continuing to advocate for teachers within our collective agreement, continuing to advocate for supports for our classrooms,” says Hapke. “Working with our District, we have a wonderful working relationship with our HR Department.”
Hapke takes over on July 1st, at a busy time for the Teachers’ Association.”We are looking at a new government that we don’t know what it is actually going to look like, and potentially more money into the system than what we were even guaranteed since the Supreme Court ruled in our favour,” says Hapke. “There are a lot of things happening and we are also looking at bargaining, which will be starting again as our contract ends in 2019.”
As for Giroday, he is looking forward to spending more time with his family. “My wife and I, we are very stay-at-home family people. Our focus has been on our family, we have 13 grandchildren. Our focus will be on our grandchildren. We are not planning on leaving Prince George. We have always lived in the north. We lived in Terrace for 15 years. We came here and we have been here for a long time. Came for 2 [years] and stayed forever, I think that’s how the saying goes. We look forward to have opportunities to maybe do some volunteer work in the community and certainly to be there for our children.”