Town mourns school principal

.

Rod McElroy

John MacNeil/Independent editor

Two weeks before the new school year begins, Stettler is mourning the loss of a man who was a central figure in the town’s education system.

Rod McElroy, the principal at Stettler Elementary School since 2005, died Friday of a suspected heart attack.

He was 55.

“It’s very sad news,” Clearview Public Schools superintendent John Bailey said after Monday’s board meeting. “My understanding is the doctor thinks it was a massive heart attack — very sudden, very shocking.”

Funeral services are scheduled for 1 p.m. today at Stettler Funeral Home.

McElroy had been an educator in Stettler for 33 years, beginning in 1978 as a physical education and math teacher at William E. Hay Composite High School. He moved to the town’s junior high school — now Stettler Middle School — in 1986. He became vice-principal of Stettler Elementary in 1991 and was promoted to principal 14 years later.

“He certainly had been in the district a long time,” Bailey said. “I know he was highly regarded by staff and families in the school. Certainly, as a colleague working with him, I always respected his opinion and appreciated his friendship. He was a colleague, but I would say a friend, too.”

As recently as last week, McElroy was at Stettler Elementary, preparing for the Sept. 6 opening of school. His hands-on approach to education was reflected in his many years as a coach of school teams.

“I’m new to the district — I’m just starting my fourth year — but I certainly grew to have respect for Rod and his professionalism,” said Bailey, who had chatted with McElroy last week.

“I always found him to be very supportive. He had good ideas. He was always willing to talk about ideas. I know he cared deeply about the education of children and wanted the absolute best for them.”

McElroy’s survivors include his two adult sons, Chris and Pat.

“Despite his many professional accomplishments, Rod was most proud of his children,” his obituary reads. “He was the best father and spent many hours teaching, coaching, cheering for and driving Chris and Pat to their various sporting activities. He shared with them the glory of winning and the agony of defeat. Most of all, he instilled in the boys the importance of doing your best, being good people and making good choices.”

For multiple reasons, the Clearview board observed a moment of silence before Monday’s meeting.

“One of our trustees lost her father suddenly, right at the start of July, in an accident, so it’s been a tough few months for the Clearview family in that way,” Bailey said.

The board also discussed administrative staffing for Stettler Elementary for this school year and beyond.

“Obviously, the board is very saddened by this, but we do have a plan that we’re working on to make sure that, as Rod would have wanted, school will be a great event for all the kids in that school this year,” Bailey said. “That would have been something that he wanted — not just the kids to learn, but have a great time in school, too.”

“It’s fair to say that I discussed the plan with (the trustees) and they liked my plan. We have a plan to move ahead both in the short and long term.”

He said details of that plan would become available after discussions with staff involved.

Just Posted

Clearview Public Schools requesting modular classrooms for Gus Wetter School

School’s capacity decreased to 305 students from 358

Darrell Paulovich remembered after accident claims his life

A tragic accident claimed the life of a rodeo advocate over the weekend

The soil from which wealth grows: MLA Strankman

Good economic policy requires genuine understanding of the wealth creation process

Stettler Lightning ready for a win

Take on Lomond Lakers Oct. 13

Naked man jumping into Toronto shark tank a ‘premeditated’ stunt: official

The man swam in a tank at Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada

Trump: Saudi king ‘firmly denies’ any role in Khashoggi mystery

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is travelling to the Middle East to learn more about the fate of the Saudi national

Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen dies at 65

Allen died in Seattle from complications of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma

Transport Canada to take new look at rules, research on school bus seatbelts

Canada doesn’t currently require seatbelts on school buses

Theft of $140,000 in machinery investigated in County of Wetaskiwin

Wetaskiwin RCMP investigate theft of pipe fusion equipment

5 tips for talking to your kids about cannabis

Health officials recommend sharing a harm reduction-related message.

NHL players say Canada’s legalization of marijuana won’t impact them

NHL players say the legalization of marijuana in Canada won’t change how they go about their business.

Automated cars could kill wide range of jobs, federal documents say

Internal government documents show that more than one million jobs could be lost to automated vehicles, with ripple effects far beyond the likeliest professions.

Would-be thieves fail to steal ATM in Red Deer

Drive truck backwards into IGA on eastside

Most Read