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Chinook High School principal, Bill Forster, announces his retirement

Congratulations and best wishes to Bill Forster, who has announced he will be retiring at the end of this school year from his role as principal at Chinook High School.
“We are grateful for Bill’s commitment to students, staff and our school communities,” said Lethbridge School Division Superintendent Mike Nightingale. “Bill has always been a student-centred educator who cares deeply about creating a culture of learning where all are welcomed and embraced. Over the course of his career, Bill’s kind and thoughtful approach to leadership has positively impacted the many students, staff and parents/guardians he has served. We wish Bill all the best in the next chapter in his journey and are thankful for all that he has done for Chinook High School and the Division.”
After spending the first three years of his professional life as a meteorologist, Forster returned to school at the University of British Columbia to earn his degree in Education, majoring in secondary science (Physics) with a minor in Mathematics.
This led to a career spent in three different schools and school divisions. Forster began in 1997 at Spruce Grove Composite High teaching Physics, Science and Math. After a few years as a teacher and department head, Forster moved into administration in 2004, where he has spent the rest of his career, with one brief foray as a technology lead teacher.
In 2010, his family made the decision to move back to Lethbridge, the city where Forster and his wife had been raised, and where both of their families resided.
Forster began work in Livingstone Range School Division at F.P. Walshe in Fort Macleod, first as vice-principal for one year and then as a principal for five more.
“I learned a vast amount about connections to family, roots and the land working in a small rural community with deep connections both to the Kainai and Piikani nations,” said Forster.
In 2016, Forster jumped at the chance to work at Chinook, which represented an opportunity to work in his home community, and in a school where one of his children attended.
“Working with the amazing students and staff of Chinook for five years as a vice-principal and for the last three as principal has been the best way I can think of to finish off this part of my journey in administration, learning and growing through all of the joy and challenges of these most interesting times in education,” he said.
Connecting, working and learning daily with students was a highlight for Forster during his time at Chinook.
“High school students are amazing people who I have learned way more from than they ever learned from me, and seeing them every day and being with them on their journey as amazing humans makes every day special,” he said.
Forster added he is proud of the work that has been a common thread for his entire career, highlighted with the amazing team at Chinook - working toward making the system of high school more responsive to and 'fit' students as humans with differences and different needs, first and foremost.
“It is always difficult to shift systems from within and challenge why and how things are done, and to be able to work with such a wide variety of caring colleagues who are focused on making lives better every day for their students has been very rewarding.”
So what’s next for Forster as he moves on to a new chapter in his life?
“Slow down and spend more time with my wife, lovely kids, parents and my dog for a start,” he said. “I want to spend more time in nature and continue my educational journey through other opportunities, both as a learner and through work opportunities.”
Congratulations on your retirement!