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W.A. Day school bids farewell to principal

dave fender

New W.A. Day school principal Dave Fender displays a gift for Richard Feller. Fender asked staff to provide words to describe Feller, and put them on a record album and had it framed.

Richard Feller

Departing W.A. Day school principal Richard Feller gets a hug from a student following his farewell assembly on Friday.

Best. Principal. Ever.
Those three simple words stood out among many spoken Friday in praise of departing W.A. Day school principal Richard Feller.
Feller has left the Fort Macleod school just over a week after the new term started to take on the new post of director of learning for Livingstone Range School Division.
The move is part of restructuring at central office that began when Dave Driscoll resigned as superintendent to take on the same role with Palliser School Division.
Livingstone Range appointed assistant superintender Darryl Seguin to replace Driscoll.
“We’ve considered many options for moving forward to ensure the continuity of programs and supports in our division,” Seguin said. “As a result, we’ve decided it’s better at this time to add a director rather than another associate superintendent, as everything is temporary until the board decides on a new superintendent for the longer term.”
As director of learning support services, Feller is in charge of inclusive education; First Nations, Metis and Inuit programs; the nutrition project, comprehensive school health and other duties as assigned.
Other senior administrative duties at central office will be covered through changes to existing roles and redistribution of selected responsibilities.
W.A. Day students, staff, community members and Feller’s family gathered in the gymnasium Friday afternoon for a farewell.
Dave Fender, who joined the staff at W.A. Day this fall as assistant principal, takes over as principal. Leanne Feller becomes assistant principal.
Fender said Feller made a strong impression in the short time they worked together at W.A. Day.
“There is no doubt that he’s an amazing administrator,” Fender said. “It is an honour for me to do the best I can to follow in his footsteps.”
Livingstone Range School Board trustees Martha Ratcliffe and Lori Hodges couldn’t attend the farewell assembly, but sent their best wishes.
“You made a great impact on the staff and students at W.A. Day school,” the trustees wrote in an e-mail message read by Fender.
Ratcliffe and Hodges wrote that they expect Feller will have a similar positive impact on the entire school division in his new position at central office.
Blackfoot elder Peter Strikes With A Gun praised Feller for his work to incorporate First Nations culture into daily life at the school.
“We will continue to be blessed by what he has left,” said Strikes With A Gun, who gave Feller a praise song, the highest honour in Blackfoot culture.
Student Zoe Nelson had no difficulty describing the work Feller did at W.A. Day school.
“You’ve been the best principal ever and you have accomplished so much at the school,” Zoe said. “We are sad to see you go, but we hope you have a wonderful time at your new job.”
Zoe reassured Feller that the students won’t soon forget him.
“We thank you for all the wonderful changes you have made that made this school so much better,” Zoe said.
W.A. Day teacher Andrew Walmsley called Feller an “awesome” principal and great friend to staff and students.
Walmsley credited Feller for establishing W.A. Day as a 7 Habits school, and promised the staff will carry on that work.
“That’s something that he’s so proud of and passionate about for our school,” Walmsley said.
Fender presented Feller with a gift from the students that is a framed print of a child reading a book, surrounded by words provided by children at W.A. Day school.
Fender then presented Feller with a gift from staff that was another framed print, this one of a record album filled with words provided by staff to describe their departing principal.
Feller visited each classroom prior to the farewell ceremony to speak to the students.
“I know that this school is in your hands,” Feller told staff and students. “I know the school is in great hands.”
“I know that as leaders, there is nothing else to do than be awesome.”
Feller joined Livingstone Range in 1999 at Livingstone school in Lundbreck, later moving to assistant principal and then principal at G.R. Davis school in Fort Macleod, before taking over at W.A. Day.

Departing W.A. Day school principal Richard Feller gets a hug from a student following his farewell assembly on Friday.

New W.A. Day school principal Dave Fender displays a gift for Richard Feller. Fender asked staff to provide words to describe Feller, and put them on a record album and had it framed.

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