Getting to Know Your Leaders: Kinch brings 34-year educator career to Catholic board

·2 min read

Bernie Kinch was a teacher in Medicine Hat’s Catholic Board of Education for much of his 34-year career. Now retired, he believes he can continue to support students through his new role as board trustee.

“I thought this is an opportunity where I can do more,” Kinch told the News. “(I can) have a greater impact in the background rather than being in front of the classrooms.”

Kinch moved to Medicine Hat immediately after graduating high school to play on a junior football team. The team disbanded after one season, but Kinch stayed and began studying business at Medicine Hat College. After graduating, he moved to Lethbridge where he completed his Bachelor of Education. He then began working as an educator in Taber, but moved back to Medicine Hat years later.

Throughout his career, Kinch taught myriad subjects, including photography, videography and math. He was also a sports coach within the division.

“Mostly, I coached basketball. I did coach some volleyball towards the end of my career. It was a great deal of fun because it wasn’t my forte but I learned a lot and I was mentored by a lot of other really good coaches in our division.”

He was also the president of Medicine Hat Catholic Teachers ATA, Local 39 from 2014 to 2019, which he feels helped prepare him for his current role as trustee.

“I was on so many committees and I attended so many provincial meetings … I kind of know how to navigate (and) I know people that I can contact and get advice from,” Kinch said.

Kinch admits he doesn’t like being the centre of attention, but enjoys working with others and providing guidance where necessary.

“I’ve never wanted to draw attention to myself,” he said. “I’m just happy to be in the mix and do things. I think that’s one of the opportunities you get provided as a trustee. You can effect some change but it … gets executed by the superintendent, the teachers and everybody else. They’re the ones who get to shine in the glory of that.”

Kinch wants MHCBE educators, students and parents to know he’s approachable and open to hearing all viewpoints, and he invites communication with him regarding topics in MHCBE.

“I don’t have an agenda,” Kinch said “I want to be supportive of new ideas, change or things that are presently going on. I think one of my positive traits is that I’m kind of flexible … I don’t believe that my view is the best all the time.”

Outside his trustee duties, Kinch enjoys woodworking and spending time with his family, which includes three sons, all of whom were students in the MHCBE. He also likes to cheer for his native Saskatchewan Roughriders.

KENDALL KING, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News

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