• July 30, 2011

Several SET-BC and PRCVI staff members won’t be returning in September. Happy retirement to Joe, Susan, Anne and Michael and thanks for all you’ve done for students in British Columbia, the teams supporting them and your many colleagues!

Joe Cash

retirement_joeJoe was born in Kingston, Ontario and started his career in Canadian education as a teaching assistant in Vancouver in 1987. Before that, however, he taught drawing at Instituto Allende in Mexico in 1976 where his love for both teaching and spicy Mexican food began. After working as a TA in Vancouver for awhile, he attended UBC where he received his degree in Secondary Art Education.

In 1993 he took on the Primary Behaviour Class at Nelson Elementary but made the switch to SET-BC the following year in 1994. Joining the Region 2 Lower Mainland team, he worked as a SET-BC consultant in many school districts throughout the lower mainland. In 2003 he joined the SET-BC Provincial Resource Team (PRT) as the Service Delivery Manager where his dedication to improving our service delivery policies and procedures has resulted in many, many improvements to our service provision model. His dedication to his SET-BC role is matched only by his care and concern for students, school teams and his fellow colleagues.

Joe’s absence on the PRT and in SET-BC in general will be felt very keenly but we are so happy he is able to retire and spend his days walking his dogs and painting his amazing landscapes. For those of you who may want to follow the progress on his latest work, check out www.josephcash.com. All the best, Joe – we will miss you!

Susan Harrison

retirement_suzanneSusan is a true local girl – having been born, raised and worked in the lower mainland her entire life. She started her career in education in 1974 when she joined the Mitchell Elementary (Richmond) staff as a Grade 2 teacher. We know her bubbly positive personality would have been perfect for that age group! She also worked at the Diagnostic and Prescriptive Centre in Richmond supporting Learning Disabled students for a number of years and was a resource teacher at Rideau Park and Homma Elementary. She went on from Homma to assume a role on the Richmond school district ‘School Based Support Team’ and then, in 2006, joined the SET-BC Region 2 team as the Richmond / Delta consultant.

In the time she has been with SET-BC, Susan has brought her wonderful optimism and valuable teacher perspective to her work supporting students, school teams, and regional colleagues. She took on every challenge with a positive, “we can do this” attitude that was absolutely infectious. At a time when most would be starting to wind down their careers, Susan jumped into the world of assistive technology service provision with a level of enthusiasm and energy that amazed all who worked with her. We understand that, now that she is retiring, she will have time to pursue one of her favourite hobbies – gardening. We fully expect that she will quickly have her own “Butchart Gardens” in no time. We wish Susan all the very best now and in the future.

Michael Mizera

retirement_michaelMichael came into the world in Camrose, Alberta and, after acquiring a degree in vocational education, started his teaching career in Edmonton in 1976. Like Anne, the ocean called him to Vancouver in the early 1980s. Unfortunately, he moved here during the time when teaching positions were hard to find so he took a detour and worked for Telus (then BC Tel) for 10 years. Wanting to get back into education, he went to UBC where he received his diploma in supporting students with multiple handicaps. While attending UBC, he met Sally Rogow who easily convinced him to take TVI training, which he did in 1980. He then became an itinerant teacher of the visually impaired in the Vancouver school district. In 2008, he joined PRCVI as a Vision Outreach Coordinator where he has been a helpful and enthusiastic supporter of BC vision teachers for several years. He has worked on several valuable resources that are designed to help those in the classroom better support students with visual impairments. These can be found in the SET-BC Learning Centre and will live on, even after he retires, continuing to provide much needed support to those in the field.

Michael has brought so much to his work with students and the teams that support them – his commitment to both has been constant and admirable. SET-BC staff members have certainly enjoyed the opportunities over the past few years to collaborate with him on various projects and we know he will be missed by his PRCVI colleagues. We also know he will thoroughly enjoy his retirement and hope he comes back for a visit and a civilized cup of tea. Happy retirement, Michael!

Anne Wadsworth

retirement_anneUnlike Susan, Anne had to cross an ocean and a country to end up in British Columbia. She was born in Leeuwarden, Netherlands and started her teaching career in the Edmonton Catholic School District in 1968 as a Grade 1 teacher. She also taught Grade 5 in the same district and was eventually asked to set up a program for supporting students with visual impairments. She quickly heard her calling with this student group and went back to school in San Francisco to get her credentials as a teacher of the visually impaired. Returning to Alberta, she joined Alberta Education and worked as a Special Education consultant in Edmonton and Calgary from 1974 to 1987. The ocean beckoned and she moved to Vancouver where she worked as an itinerant TVI in the lower mainland and as a member of the Special Services Resource Team in the Vancouver school district. She joined SET-BC in 1993 as a member of the Region 2 Lower Mainland team, sharing her vision services specialty with both colleagues and teams throughout the lower mainland. In 1998 she moved to PRCVI as an outreach coordinator and then assumed the final role of her career, that of PRCVI Program Manager in 2007.

It would be impossible to attempt to adequately describe the impact Anne has had on the local, regional, provincial and national vision community during her long and successful career. She has been a tireless advocate of students with visual impairments and has had the vision and dedication to oversee so many initiatives which have improved the lives of BC students who have low vision or are blind. Vision teachers across BC have looked to Anne for help and support and she has always been there, working side by side with them, to ensure that BC leads in service provision for this student population. She was one of the original visionaries who brought ARC-BC to life extending the availability of alternate format materials to all BC students with perceptual disabilities.

Through her contributions and leadership to CAER (Canadian Association of Educational Resource Centres) and other provincial and national organizations, she has very positively influenced how alternate format materials are produced and distributed throughout Canada. Anne can be so proud of the legacy she leaves behind – she may be retiring now but her influence will be felt for many, many years to come. We wish her the best and hope her retirement travel plans take her to many wonderful and exotic locations.