After making an impact in the community for almost 40 years beloved educator retires
IDAHO FALLS — Known as an advocate for kids, and someone who truly cares for others, colleagues and students are saying farewell to an educator who’s served the community for nearly four decades.
Bill Cairns has spent most of his time in education working in Idaho Falls School District 91 as an assistant principal. He began his career in 1981 in Blackfoot at Snake River High School and worked there for ten years with a variety of titles: government and economy teacher, football, basketball, track and cross country coach and more.
“I don’t know that people really realize what he’s done,” Cairns’ daughter Brindi Horn said. “He’s been a big support for all of the teenagers. I had the privilege of having him in the high school with me when I was there so I witnessed firsthand what he does with teenagers and how he helps them make big life decisions.”
Since then he moved on to become the vice principal of Clair E. Gale Junior High School (now Compass Academy). He’s held many teaching and vice principal positions at Skyline and Idaho Falls High Schools. He even worked as the principal of Shelley High School for some time. Most recently he was the athletic director at Skyline High School.
Cairns said he was inspired from a young age to pursue a profession in education. He said years ago a teacher had invited him to be a part of a group called Future Teachers of America.
“During my junior year I went down to the elementary school after school and helped teach P.E. to little kids and then I coached little league baseball and thoroughly enjoyed the association with the young people,” Cairns said. “I think early in my life I’ve said, that’s what I want to do.”
Now in the beginnings of his retirement, he said his time had come for him to have a graduation of sorts. Cairns says he’s never worked a day in his life because he’s thoroughly enjoyed working with students.
“I enjoy their bright smiles, their happiness, their challenges, their dreams, their aspirations. They’re wonderful young people who truly are prepared for today and the challenges of tomorrow and they care about each other,” Cairns said.
Gregg Baczuk an educator who will be filling Cairns position said Bill has impacted many students in the community.
“As a teacher and a coach, no one has done more for kids in this community than Bill Cairns. He’s literally reached thousands of kids throughout his career and so his shoes are enormous. As a colleague, Bill has helped me tremendously. He’s helped prepare me for this opportunity, and I can’t thank him enough,” Baczuk said.
Cairns was instrumental during his first few years at Skyline High School in 1995 to 2001 as he started the homecoming parades, the community carnival and the athletic hall of fame among other things. At Shelley High School he helped transition the ninth grade into the high school after the junior high burned down. When he came back to Skyline High School in 2005 as a vice principal he created a credit recovery program to help students graduate. His most recent success for the community was renaming the fields at Skyline High School to the Terry Layland Sports Complex.
“Bill is extremely kind and caring, he’s considerate, of everybody and their needs he’s really the guy that will go after the kids who lonely or who needs help and be an advocate for him. That’s one of his great strengths is his advocacy for kids,” Baczuk said. “He’s done so much for Idaho Falls. I hope I can come close to what he’s accomplished.”
Cairns daughter Darci Orchard appreciates the service her father has done for them and fellow students.
“He is loyal, he is honest, he is kind, and he is passionate,” Orchard said. “You knew you were appreciated, you knew you were loved, you knew you were accepted and you knew you had someone on your side that’s pretty empowering when your middle school and high school age.”
Cairns said he’ll miss being around the kids, great teachers and staff members.
“To the teachers and my friends and colleagues over the years thank you. Thank you for being my friend, thank you for supporting me,” Cairns said.
And to the kids he’s helped he has a message.
“Just believe. Believe in yourself. Believe in the future. Life is a great opportunity to grow and develop and you have challenges that my generations never faced but you also have better preparation than my generation never did,” Cairns said.