On Monday June 13th, I had the pleasure of attend Ron Millar’s retirement celebration. It was a great event and I appreciated the opportunity to provide some remarks about Ron and his career. Having worked with Ron for most of my career, I also wanted to share my comments here in a more public way.
Ron, the Millar family and guests,
I thought it was fitting for this event, that I have my speaking notes on an iPad. This year I celebrated my 30th year in education with the WRDSB. I have known Ron and had the pleasure and honour of working with him in a variety of capacities for almost my entire career.
For those of you that know me, you are aware that it seems things always work out in threes. Fittingly, there are 3 sections to my remarks tonight: Things in Common/stats, Memories and Going Forward.
Things in common & stats:
Ron and I have many things in common, and I thought I would highlight a few of those things today:
- glasses & beards: we delighted in saying if you can’t tell us apart, Ron has a beard and I wear glasses
- an appreciation for black: the dress code is embedded, no memos or phone calls
- passion for learning
- and one additional point that I would bet most of you don’t know.
Ron and I both taught mathematics at Glenveiw Park Secondary School. On the theme of numbers, I wanted to share a few of Ron’s statistics from his amazing 44 year career.
- he has worked 2332 weeks or 11660 days, factoring his continued summer work
- he has been granted 880 sick days, and being blessed with good health, most have not been used
- since the beginning of email, Ron has received approximately 544, 000 messages in his WaterWorks (work) account. I know he often teased about declaring email bankruptcy and deleting them all, but I know if fact that they were answered.
- Ron bought the first instructional computer for the Board, a TRS 80 I believe. Since that day, he has piled up some impressive stats:
- $44 million spent on computer hardware – about 47,000 computers
- $4.5 million spent on software
- $4 million spent on staff development activities – this year is CATC camp #20
- oh yes, and the number 15 is important. In the days when WaterWorks (our email system) was just starting, Frank & I were assured that it would take about 15 minutes per day to manage the WaterWorks project needs. I think in reality, it took all of our daily time except for 15 minutes – but well worth it when you look at what is has become today.
- the days of the modem workshops, stringing phone line cables in the Education Centre on Saturday mornings as part of workshop prep
- thank you for starting my passion for iDevices
- ITS events always have a picture of Ron taking of picture of Mark who is taking a picture of Ron (tradition)
- Our ‘water cooler’ time – starting everyday talking about some new thing that one of us learned
- Ron teaching my daughter Charlotte her first Latin pun – sempre ooby sub ooby – always wear under wear
- Listening to Ron talk enthusiastically about a new technology
- Zipping to Buffalo to get those first precious iPads into Canada
- Arranging amazing system events for the Computer Contacts with speakers such as David Warlick and Alan November
- Joking that if Ron got up a little earlier and I stayed up a bit later, we would offer 24 hour coverage for ITS
- Dilbert – in one of my favourite cartoons, the IT department raids Dilbert of his desktop, laptop, disks and USB key. After they leave, Dilbert points out they missed the wireless pen!
Hats: Most of you, like me, have never seen Ron physically wear a hat — but he does wear them. I think of them as the hats of the master learner. Ron has excellent people skills and has a wonderful ability to pop on the right hat at the right time. He might wear:
- a question hat and ask a probing question at just the right time
- a support hat, sensing when you need help
- a friend hat when you need a listener
- an energy hat to get some new project going
- an experience hat to guide a process or project along in the right direction
- a research hat to validate our work
- a mentor hat to share knowledge or help you see a new insight
- an R&D hat to look into the future
- a smile hat – time for a little humour or practical joke to keep the mood light or
- a passion hat to keep the learning and energy high
When I thought about how to wrap up my comments, of course I came back to the theme of 3 buckets. Ron, each bucket has a wish for you.
Bucket #1: a wish that you will enjoy a happy retirement for as many years as your career
Bucket #2: a wish that you will continue to be as passionate about your retirement activities as you have been with your work
Bucket #3: a wish that you will stay connected – don’t be a stranger.
Thanks for bringing your ‘A game’ everyday to learn, facilitate, problem solve and make WRDSB a great place to be.
Congratulations on an outstanding career Ron.