Brian Stewart is retiring as Instructional Specialist with the Math & Sciences Division at Hazard Community and Technical College, effective Aug. 31.
Stewart arrived in Hazard from Canada in August 1997 with his wife, Sharon, and their daughter, Anna. Sharon began teaching Math, Anna entered her Junior year at Hazard High School and Brian took on various roles including adjunct Biology teacher and Academic Resource Center tutor. His current position began in August 1999 with the title of Instructional Assistant.
As a former high school biology teacher, Stewart said he has enjoyed working with the faculty who are scientists, and supporting their efforts to provide good and safe laboratory activities for students. His work to better organize the labs, storage areas and equipment is greatly appreciated, noted HCTC Vice President Dr. R. Kathy Smoot. “Brian has made positive differences in the community through the lives of our students, while working with a team of skilled and dedicated professionals who put the students’ interests above their own,” she said.
“Brian has provided much assistance to the science teachers responsible for in-person laboratory courses. This has involved preparing materials needed for each laboratory activity, ordering those materials as needed, inventorying and storing them, then cleaning up and re-shelving the equipment after each lab. Along with that he maintained and sometimes repaired the instruments and other equipment; he also safely disposed of any hazardous materials,” she said.
HCTC President Dr. Steve Greiner noted that Brian has served HCTC at various campus locations. Initially, he just worked in the Hazard Campus science labs, but over time he was able to organize the new science wing when it was completed in 2002, to help maintain the new biology labs in the Knott Opportunity Center and the Leslie County Center. More recently he has upgraded the Lees College Campus science labs to a safer and more efficient level. Stewart was able to do much of the purchasing for the Science Department and by negotiating good discounts from our various vendors he was able to stretch the budget by many hundreds of dollars a year.
Stewart commented, “In trying to exemplify the servant leader model, I believe I have been perceived as an encourager across the college and especially among the science students and faculty and, if so, I would be pleased with that.”
Reflecting on HCTC, he noted, “The facilities here are generally excellent. The science department always needs more and more up-to-date equipment to stay current, but I have usually had what I have needed. I have been very impressed with the IT Department and their continual upgrading of our computers and phones. The new exercise rooms have also been great additions to our campuses.
“The people, of course, are really what make HCTC special. Almost everyone here seems to think of this faculty, staff and student community as a family, as a kind of second family beyond their own at home. This is a very caring group for the most part. The staff and faculty work hard at attracting and retaining students and turning out highly trained graduates. Many of the students themselves, while carrying challenging course loads and heavy responsibilities at home, still give their time and energy to help the less fortunate. All in all, this is a very good place to work, shoulder to shoulder with friendly and supportive people of all ages.
Stewart fondly remembers when several student friends surprised him and Sharon with a farewell party in the former Academic Resources Center. “They honored and amazed us with bountiful food, many guests, poignant speeches, plaques with appreciative messages and even a video record of the event. We felt very much loved!”
He earned an Honors Level bachelor’s degree in Biology and Psychology from Trent University, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada in 1972 and a B.Ed. in Science Education from Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario in 1973.
Upon retirement, he will move to Western New York State to be closer to family. He plans on traveling as much as he can, catching up on delayed reading, and exploring the local creeks, lakes and canal system by canoe.
Sharon and Brian have three children: Sheila (who lives in Carlton, NY), David (who recently returned to the U.S. from teaching English in Jeonju, South Korea) and Anna (who lives in Albion, NY, about six miles from her sister Sheila). The couple has five grandchildren.