A Tribute to Ron Millar

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 Millar


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 🙂

–       curiosity

–       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

Going forward

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.


iRon says iRetire


Congratulations on an outstanding career Ron.


2 thoughts on “A Tribute to Ron Millar”

  1. What a wonderful tribute, Mark. Although I’ve known Ron far less, I share the same sentiments and smile when I read through your lists. I echo your best wishes for whatever Ron decides to do after June 30. I’m sure that he’ll still be in touch and others will continue to benefit from his wisdom and insights.

  2. Thanks for leaving this tribute to Ron. Even though I was there in person to hear what you had to say (I can remember and insert audience giggles in the appropriate spots), I have enjoyed hearing your words again and having time to reflect on them.

    Yes, I too am looking forward to Ron’s next chapter and where it will take him. I know he won’t stay out of trouble for long!

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