After four years serving as the Superintendent and CEO of School District 79, Rod Allen is calling it a career.

He recently announced his retirement and when given the chance to reflect on his time working with the Cowichan Valley School District, he pointed to a few things in particular that he’s most proud of.

Allen said he’s thrilled that he played a part in the development of the Mill Bay Nature School, a program that provides kids with frequent outdoor experiences, allowing them to play and explore.

“It’s a stunning example of transformative learning and transformative opportunities for staff and students, it’s exciting and gratifying to see the interest it’s created in the valley,” said Allen. “Parents are lining up to get their kids in, it’s a beautiful model and there is nothing quite like it anywhere else that I’ve seen.”

Despite being retired, Allen will continue working with Harvard University regarding the school district’s transformative learning model.

“We’ve had a Harvard researcher documenting our transformation journey, as we’re transforming and changing the education and learning in the valley,” said Allen. “There’s been a researcher engaged with us for the last two years, so that project will continue.”

Allen said the Cowichan Valley School District is one of 12 districts across North America partnering with Harvard in a research inquiry on districts that are engaged in transformative learning and engaged in thinking differently about education.

Part of his retirement will include exploring the Cowichan Valley, he may visit a few wineries and pursue one of his passions, woodworking.