Gordon Crook recently retired from Tec Voc High School after 18 years as Principal. This was a culmination of 40 years of teaching and leadership within the Winnipeg School Division. He left his mark as a “super” supporter of Tec-Voc High School; on the students who attended school under his tenure and as a booster of high school athletics. Congratulations Gordon on being named Guest of Honour for WIT 2019.
Gordon Crook, a graduate of Elmwood High School, got into teaching late in his life. At 30 he was working as a Government employee when he decided a career change was in order; he liked working with kids and thought that teaching offered a viable career path. His first job was at William White in Winnipeg’s core area. There, he learned what it meant to teach children from impoverished homes who face social and cultural obstacles in their development. This is also where he met his wife Liz. These two seminal occurrences helped to form an understanding about human interaction, acceptance and humility that was to be the backbone of his leadership style for the next 30 years.
As principal of Tec-Voc High School Gordon established a climate of support and acceptance. He was always supportive of new ideas while addressing student needs. He established the breakfast program and other supports to ensure students came to class ready to learn. He is also a closet techie and was always interested in keeping the school up to date with technology. He established the first computer labs in the building for the academic stream and helped bring the library up to date as a true learning commons. Today we have over 1500 computers that help our students become technically literate in an ever changing digital world.
He understood the sea change that was happening in the world of work and empowered his teachers to meet the challenges of the 21st Century. For his supportive professionalism and innovative approaches to education Gordon was recognized with various awards for his leadership. Gordon was named one of Canada’s outstanding principals by the Learning Partnership in 2009 and has been an active participant in the COP National Academy since that time. This was followed in 2014 by the Manitoba School Library Association Principal of the Year Award. This award recognized his support of literacy through strong libraries. An avid reader, sometimes claiming to have read up to 40 books over the summer holidays, Gordon has always believed in the power of reading and the special place the libraries have in a community. He still sits on the board for the Winnipeg Public Libraries and is an avid book club member.More power to him as he has always practiced what he preached!
His love for athletics has always been a part of him. He is an avid baseball fan, a true aficionado of the statistics and mathematical certainties of the game. He loves to watch basketball and stand on the sidelines to cheer the Hornets onto victory. His coaching claim to fame is that he coached Manitoba athlete, Erfan Nasajpour, an Iranian-Canadian professional basketball player, currently playing for Shahrdari Tabriz Basketball Club in the Iranian Basketball Super League. Gordon coached him in grade 8
at Hugh John Macdonald School. His brother David Crook, was once the head coach of the University of Winnipeg Wesmen and is now their Athletic Director. Sports has always been a part of his life; his personal basketball pedigree is “fouling out the same intramural game at Elmwood High School twice and sinking my last two foul shots in the Tec-Voc gym. I never took another one after that.”
Apart from his own experience on and off the court Gordon realized the incredible potential for a basketball tournament to excite student’s imaginations and to fire up the student body. He will always be remembered for the WIT pep rallies where he would have one side of the stands yelling “TEC” and the other side screaming, “VOC”. He pumped up the students and teachers and was… always up for being part of the teacher’s skit.
WIT has always had a special place in Gordon’s school life. He would always watch the finals from the RTB control room where he was fascinated by the skill the students employed to produce a professional broadcast, “I always wanted to direct a game, but never got the chance.” He loved participating in the broadcast, “I always looked forward to my yearly interview during the first half of the final game.” WIT flourished under Gordon’s leadership and it’s time WIT gave something back.
For all of Gordon’s promotion and leadership over the last 18 years, WIT is happy to name Gordon Crook, WIT Guest of Honour for 2019. Congratulations Gordon!