Principal Don Yavis retiring from Morrin School | DrumhellerMail
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Last updateTue, 21 May 2024 12am

Principal Don Yavis retiring from Morrin School

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Students at Morrin School received a brand new school at the beginning of the year, and come next school year, they will have a new principal.
After 42 years at Morrin School including 13 as principal, Don Yavis will be retiring from teaching.
“I spent my entire career here. I started in 1981-82 as a Phys ed teacher,” Yavis told the Mail.
As a young man, Yavis graduated from high school and said he had a choice to work in the oilfield like his brother or work in the family business at the restaurant.
“Being almost 18 years old, work didn’t sound so good, but university sounded good,” he said. “I took Phys ed because, in my mind, I was going to have fun, and I had zero intention of ever being a teacher.”
Yavis married his junior high sweetheart in his second year at the University of Calgary, finished his third year of the Physical Education Program and received his degree.
“My buddies were all going into education, so I followed them over there to have another year. I came home from the first day we did a practical course, and I told my wife, “They’re going to pay me to play with kids, and now, I know what I want to do,” he said.
“I never thought I would be a teacher, it was never planned until that day I came home from school.”
Growing up in a big family, working with kids wasn’t a stretch for him and in 1981 he graduated from the Education program. He immediately began sending out resumes but didn’t get a response immediately.
Only a few weeks later he was back home working at the restaurant.
“I was waiting on a table at the restaurant, and the deputy superintendent was having lunch with a guy that worked at Excelsior Motors. I was waiting on their table, and he called me over and asked me if I wanted to teach in Morrin or Delia. That was my interview,” he said.
He picked Morrin and never looked back. He exclusively taught Phys ed for about 24 years and then began teaching Biology. In 2011 he became principal, succeeding Nick Thornton, who served for four years after Dr. Schielke retired.
“I picked Morrin basically for the location. I couldn’t have ended up in a better school. The community is fantastic, and the kids are amazing. I have graduating kids, who are the kids of people I taught, it has really been an amazing, wonderful career.”
His style has always been inclusive and student-centric.
“The key to my success is I always remember what it is like to be at that age and some of the things they have to deal with. We’re not a disciplinary school, we don’t punish kids for making bad decisions. We talk them through it and hope they change the way they are thinking or their thought process. Our goal is to create good human beings here… so when they walk out of here they are going to fit in wherever they go.”
He says the toughest part of retiring is not working with the students, but he may be back subbing.
“I really don’t think I can leave the kids. That’s what what I am going to miss the most; the kids in the hall, getting them off the bus, saying goodbye to them at the end of the day and all that other stuff. I warned the teachers if you get me to sub the elementary, they’re not going to get a lot of work done,” he said.
He is confident the school is in good hands and has a strong culture.
“Becky Webster has been hired to come in as principal, and she’s very much in tune with how we run things, and I think it will be a smooth transition. She’ll easily be able to work her philosophy into it.”


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