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The principal of Niverville Elementary School has worked for the Hanover School Division since she started her career 42 years ago in 1975.

Judy Hiebert announced her retirement and, as of the end of June, will no longer be teaching in the division. Hiebert says she has taught Kindergarten to Grade 4 in five different HSD schools, spending the last 11 years as principal of NES.

Hiebert adds growing up her mom encouraged her to have a career and she found her passion in sharing her knowledge and teaching others.

"I enjoyed what it looked like, what my understanding was at the moment, and I've kept enjoying it right through."

She says there has been a couple notable challenges, one being the art of balancing her professional life with her personal life. Hiebert notes another challenge was meeting the needs of each student.

"There isn't a formula in education, you have strategies and you try one, and then you try another. The last number of years, the last half of my career, teaching became teaming, that was awesome. You were able to bring the wisdom of the team together on how to best support kids."

Though there were challenges, Hiebert says there were also good memories. She recalls a time she was moved from teaching Grade 2 to teaching Grade 4 within the same school and seeing how much the students had learned.

"I remember going back to the Grade 2 teachers and saying, don't be discouraged, just keep right on with what you're doing because in Grade 4 I could see what I never got to see in Grade 2. I got to see the benefits of all their learning and what teachers had invested and what children had invested."

Hiebert says she worked as a resource teacher for a period of time and it was a highlight to see the resiliency and teamwork from staff that went into helping children with special needs succeed in their education.  

Superintendent Randy Dueck says Hiebert has a tremendous passion for the students and student learning.

"Looking out for kids and making sure that they're being well looked after," adds Dueck. "Whether it's special needs kids or any kid that comes to her school, Judy will make sure there's the best possible programming in place for that child. She does a great job of connecting with parents and working together collaboratively with the parents around the needs of the child."

Hiebert notes there is a quote she has used throughout her career and it's three simple words: care, share, and dare.

"Care about the children in your class and their families, care about colleagues that you work with, and care about yourself. Then share, learn alongside your students and colleagues, be a team player. Sharing is a big part of education now. Then dare, continue to learn and explore and surprise yourself with the possibilities of what you can do and what the students can do."

She says she has enjoyed her time in the Hanover School Division and is exploring a few options to fill her time after retirement including working with Global Education, making time to look after her health and wellness, and spending more time with family and friends.

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