A long-time offiical has announced his retirement after 30 years of managing finances for the Southeast Kootenay School District.
Rob Norum’s career as secretary-treasurer has seen him guide the district’s financial planning and management through challenges that include legislative and collective bargaining issues, wage freezes, labour disputes, fluctuating student enrolments and lean funding years.
Norum told the SD5 Board of Education of his intention to retire last fall, but he will remain in his role until April to assist and mentor Alan Rice, who has been named as his replacement.
“Naturally, we are sad that the time has finally come for Rob to move onto the greener pastures of the golf course,” said SD5 board chair Frank Lento. “The District has benefited immensly from his years of dedicated service and he will be dearly missed.”
Norum’s lecgacy includes overssing the replacement of four schools in communities across the district and has also been integral to the board for it’s ongoing advocacy in replacing Isabella Dicken Elementary School in Fernie and Mount Baker Secondary School in Cranbrook.
Additionally, Norum worked on the key partnership between the District, the City of Cranbrook, and the newly formed Key City Theatre Society to build the Key City Theatre in 1992, which was largely funded through Expo ‘86 legacy funds.
“The Key City Theatre is just one example of the relationships Rob has built and the personal knowledge he has accumulated over the decades,” said Lento. “We are very fortunate that Rob has agreed to continue on with the District in a consulting/mentoring role for the foreseeabile future so that he can pass along some of his vast knowledge to the new secretary-tresurer.”
Rice comes to the District with 15 years of experience in the financial accounting field and is an accredited Certified Public Accountant, after previously receiving his Chartered Accountant designation in both B.C. and Alberta.
He completed his Chartered Director designation from McMaster University in 2010, his Master of Professional Accounting degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 2005 and his Bachelors of Management degree from the University of Lethbridge in 2003.
He has been living in Kimberley with his family since 2012, working as Senior Manager with BDO Canada.
Rice’s responsibilities include overseeing a $75 million budget for the educational needs of 5,500 students across the district that range from payroll, transportation and facility maintenance. Rice says he intends to be a strong advocate for both operating and captial funding for the District.
“I hope to be as strong an advocate as my predecessor, Mr. [Rob] Norum and to continue the legacy financial stability and taxpayer accountability the District has enjoyed under his leadership,” said Rice. “I realize I have extremely large boots to fill, but I’m up for the challenge.”
Outside of his working career, Rice is active in the Kimberley community, serving as a minor hockey coach and on the Kimberley/Cranbrook 55+ BC Games. Born in Lethbridge, Rice lived in Calgary before coming to Kimberley, where he also served on numerous not-for-profit boards.
Lento noted that the secretary-treasurer opening attracted many qualified candidates.
“We need someone with a broad education and varied professional experience to draw on,” Lento said. “Equally important is the ability for that person to form honest, respectful relationships with the Board, staff and stakeholders of SD5. Given these needs, the Board felt that Alan would be the best fit for the District.”