Local Service Award Recipient Biographies - 2013

Cape Breton District Local

Jed Corbett

Jed Corbett has been an active NSTU member at the local, regional and provincial levels for more than 30 years. Presently serving on the Council Resolutions Committee, Jed has also been a member of the Provincial Executive, Local President, Vice President of Economic Welfare. He has served on many local, regional, and provincial committees (Finance & Property, Finance, Social, Economic Welfare, Resolutions, Governance, etc...). Jed is a regular delegate to Annual Council and he is a “go to” person for matters that deal with procedure and policy. The NSTU has been a source of satisfaction and good fellowship and is an important part of his professional life. Jed’s commitment and dedication to his profession through this local service award. Once again, he is “in the book”. Congratulations and thank you for a job well done!

Community College Local

Janice Henderson

Janice Henderson has been a contributing member of the NSTU for 25 years and has been involved with the Community College Local since its inception.   She has served as a member of the Local executive in the position of Vice President of Professional Development, has been a representative for the Kingstec campus and served on numerous committees at the local and union level.  Janice has also contributed greatly to the continued success of our annual Faculty and Professional Support Conference.

Richard Gilbert

Richard Gilbert has been one of the most effective campus representatives in the Community College Local of the NSTU for over 15 years.  By focussing on the needs of our Faculty and our Professional Support members 'on the ground' Richard has provided guidance and support where and when it is needed.  Richard personifies the word "representative" whether he was at the Akerley Campus, The Strait Area Campus, or his present site, the IT Campus.  Richard has also been a strong supporter of the Local's main professional association - the Association of Adult Educators (AAE).

Guysborough County Local

Christopher West

Chris began his teaching career at Guysborough Municipal High School in the fall of 1980 and has been there ever since teaching mostly senior high physical sciences.

Chris began attending NSTU meetings at the start of his career, starting off as a school rep, then VP of Professional Development during which time the Guysborough Local was successful in starting a mini teachers resource center in partnership with the Guysborough District School Board which continued until school board amalgamation in 1996. He continued on as a school rep again and finally has been on the executive as VP Communications/Webmaster.

Chris also lent his talent to the Association of Science Teachers for many years and has been conference chair for the last number of conferences. He has been an Annual Council Delegate for several years.

The Guysborough County Local applauds Chris for his efforts to his students, his colleagues and his union during his 33 years of service.

Wayne Weir

Wayne began his career as a classroom teacher in Canso in 1979 and remained there until he became the Vice Principal of Canso High School in 1997.  From 1999-2000 he took on the challenge of looking after both schools; Canso Academy and Fanning Education Center. During his early years here in Canso, Wayne served as treasurer for the Guysborough Local for 3 years.

Wayne then moved to Antigonish in 2000 and became the principal of East Antigonish Education Centre/Academy until 2001, principal of St. Andrew Junior School from 2001 - 2006 and then vice principal of Dr. John Hugh Gillis Regional High School from 2006 - 2009. 

The Guysborough County Local was fortunate enough to get him back in 2009 when he accepted the position as principal of Fanning Education Center and became treasurer again and continues to do so for the Guysborough County Local. Wayne was the first local treasurer in the province to try out the new system of having the local’s funds managed from the NSTU Central Office. He encourages this successful partnership.

The local would like to congratulate Wayne on his successful career of 34 years and thank him for his time and efforts to his students, colleagues, and union.

Halifax City Local

Cynthia Davies

Cynthia is retiring from teaching after 35+ years having made significant contributions to her school and community. Most know her as the singer and piano player at our annual Retiring Teachers Banquet where she plays Here’s to You, a tune she wrote herself.

A versatile accompanist, Cynthia has led numerous choirs including Soundtrax, Youth Honour Choir, First Baptist Girls Choir of Truro, and Halifax Camerata Singers. She was featured in the Sobeys’ commercial, Stars of Christmas, with the St. Agnes Elementary School Choir. She has accompanied Canadian Tenor Mark Dubois. She was also rehearsal pianist for the Symphony Nova Scotia Chorus, and Charlottetown Festival.

Cynthia has taught throughout Halifax City and upon her retirement will leave behind a legacy in the music programs in the city.

Halifax County Local

Peter Balcom

Mr. Balcom has taught elementary and junior high over a period of 31 years in nine different schools - several grades at the elementary level, resource, learning centre, vice principal and principal.

Peter’s involvement with the NSTU began in 1986 as representative for Joseph Giles Elementary. Since that time, he has served as such until the present year. Most of his career has been with Halifax County, but also includes a two-year stint as rep in Dartmouth. For the past 5 years Peter has served as a member of the Nominating and Resolutions Committee and Chair for the past 3. He has been a delegate and impassioned speaker to Annual Council since 2000 and has thoroughly enjoyed the experience every year. Peter is a man who believes in public education as well as the good work of the NSTU. He is often a voice of reason and support—with his eye on maintaining and promoting the integrity of our organization.

Donna Elliott

Donna’s teaching career began in 1972. She resigned from Halifax City in 1977 to be a stay at home Mom to her 2 sons and 1 daughter (no Maternity, Parental or Adoption Leave in 1977). In 1990, she regained status after climbing the substitute and term teacher ladder. She then became an active member of the Halifax County Local.

Often referring to the NSTU as her “NSTU family”, Donna became involved with our Local Women in Education, Communications and Economic Welfare Committees. She has been the ever-important school rep for many years and says she has enjoyed the camaraderie of so many wonderful and caring people. Provincially, the NSTU Equity Committee called to her in 2007.

Sometime you should sit and enjoy Donna’s tales on a few demonstrations she has bared witness to: Savage Days, Calamity Jane (at the Legislature) & Kids Not Cuts, to name a few.

Hants West Local

Belinda Snow

Ms. Snow has held countless positions within the Union and her contributions at the local level are invaluable to the membership. She is a proud union member who takes joy in representing her members and has proven to be a fierce advocate for the rights of the members of the NSTU.

She has held every position at the local level, was a member of the Provincial Executive, current chair of the AVRRC, member of the regional negotiating team and that is just to name just a few of her notable accomplishments.

Ms. Snow is also an excellent teacher who exercises good judgment and professionalism every day in her professional life. She works hard for her students and exemplifies all those qualities that good teachers have. She is not only a good union leader, she has demonstrated consistently that she a good member as well.

Inverness Local

Donna MacDonald

Donna has been teaching for 27 years, most of which have included service to the Nova Scotia Teachers Union at the local, regional and provincial level.

Donna’s involvement with the Union began while serving as a school representative. Within the Inverness Local she served as Secretary and Public Affairs and Public Relations officer.

Provincially, Donna gained an appreciation of the importance of effective communication with the public in regards to education as a member of the Public Relations Committee.

Donna is a committed individual, whose belief in collaborative values, teamwork, social justice and democratic values belies the person she is. Her sense of thoroughness and attention to detail is the trademark of her calm spirit.

Lunenburg County Local

Bill Bruhm

Bill has been teaching for thirty-four (34) years and very active in Union affairs for most of those 34 years.  He attended his first Union meeting while a substitute teacher in 1979.

Since then, he has served in many roles in the Lunenburg County Local such as Local President, Chair of the South Shore RRC and seven years as Provincial Executive member representing the Lunenburg County Local.  Bill has also served on many Committees at the Local and Provincial levels:  Article 60, Education Week, Public Affairs, and most recently served as Chair of the Governance & Policy Committee.

Two highlights of his Union career were the opportunity to act as a seconded NSTU Staff Officer during the Savage government’s attack on public education and serving as a lobbyist with the Canadian Teachers’ Federation.

The Lunenburg County Local thanks Bill for his commitment to unionism and his belief in the need for strong, properly-funded public education.

Danny Eddy

Danny Eddy willingly volunteered at his first school staff meeting back in 1977 to serve as school rep. This soon evolved into a 27 year adventure that saw Mr. Eddy serve as school rep, first VP of numerous committees in the old West Lunenburg Local. He moved on to the new Lunenburg County Local serving as VP of Public Affairs, Economic Welfare, President, Past President and on to the RRC. Danny helped negotiate 2 regional contracts, and served on the Provincial single tier bargaining team. In 2004, Mr. Eddy, left the local to serve as an Executive Staff Officer for the next 8 years. As his career draws to a conclusion, he has seen 35 rewarding years of union service. He credits the support and encouragement of his wife, Claire, for making this a wonderful and enjoyable experience.

Michael Stewart

Michael Stewart can say, unequivocally, that he has enjoyed almost every moment of his career in Public Education. A big part of this involvement has been with the union in one capacity or the other. He started his career in 1979, being encouraged to be the school rep by Tom Sheppard. After some breaks he returned in 1993 as a rep and eventually VP of Queens Local. Moving on to Lunenburg County in 1999 saw Mike take on the roles of Rep, Treasurer, VP of Economic Welfare, President, and Chair of RREWC. He enjoyed his time chairing 3 committees at the Provincial level and a member of the last PEWC. Treasured the most were all the interactions that flowed from all his contributions to the Union effort. None of this would be possible without the love and support from his wife Nancy, and his Family. Unity means accomplishment!!!

Northside-Victoria Local

Flora Cantwell

Flora Cantwell has been a dedicated and active member of the NSTU for over 25 years. Flora is in her 31st year of teaching, however she taught under the Federal system for her first 6 years. Flora was hired by the Cape Breton Victoria District School Board on a Monday, and the following Thursday she attended her first NSTU meeting. She has been actively involved in the Northside-Victoria Local ever since that first meeting. Well known in the Northside Local, Flora has served with an incredible resolve and deep concern for the well being of teachers.

Flora has served as a school representative for 25 years, a local area representative for Sydney Mines for 15 years, the Northside-Victoria Local VP of Communications and Social, as well as VP of Resolutions and Nominations.  Flora has also served on many committees: the regional negotiations committee, finance committee, economic welfare committee, professional development committee, public affairs committee, and new teacher committee. She was also involved in the Constitution and Operational Procedures Review. She has been a scrutineer at Annual Council, and attended many Annual Councils over the years. Flora’s hard work, dedication, and tireless efforts have earned the respect and admiration of her fellow teachers. Flora has worked diligently and without complaint for many years and maintained a positive outlook throughout.

Jacinta Gracie

Jacinta Gracie has been a loyal member of the NSTU for over 32 years.  Well known in the Northside and the Cape Breton locals, Jacinta has served with a steadfast commitment to represent the issues facing teachers.

Jacinta has served as a school representative, the Northside-Victoria Local's secretary, VP of Economic Welfare, and Provincial Executive member.  She has been a local area representative to the Regional Representative Council as well as a member of numerous provincial committees including Curriculum, Discipline, TWAR, and Governance and Policy.  Jacinta's hard work and dedication has gained her the respect of her fellow members throughout the Cape Breton area.

In retrospect Jacinta often states that her union involvement has allowed her to meet and network with countless other teachers and gain a broader perspective on the issues facing teachers today. 

Queens Local

Terry Doucette

Terry Doucette began his teaching career in Beach Meadows, Queens County in 1980 where he served as a school representative and on the local executive. Over the course of his career, Terry has worked with students and teachers as a classroom teacher, assistant superintendent, superintendent, vice principal and finally principal of Liverpool Regional High School for the past thirteen years. Terry was elected as Provincial Executive member for Queens and Shelburne locals in 2005 and then as President of Queens Local in 2010. He has also served as President of TWAR and on the editorial board of Aviso Magazine.

Richmond Local

Marlene Boyd

Marlene Boyd has been an exceptionally strong advocate for the NSTU; for the rights and well-being of teachers throughout her 30+ years teaching career. She has served the Richmond Local of the Union in all capacities from school rep to Local president, as well as two terms as 1st Vice President at the Provincial level. Marlene has served on numerous committees, both locally and provincially as well. Marlene’s passion and commitment for her profession and co-workers shows through in everything she does. Our rewards in working with her or having her work on issues on our behalf are too many to cite, but we certainly feel them in our professional career.

Shelburne Local

John MacKay

John has been a strong supporter of education and unionism from the beginning of his career.  He started as one of the original Elementary Core French teachers in Shelburne County.  Working as an itinerant teacher for twelve years, he worked in many of the schools throughout the county. He has taught Core French, Art, Social Studies, Health, Physical Education, and Science.  John has also worked as a French consultant for the Southwest Regional School Board. He was chosen for a Pan-Canadian Core French participant by the Canadian Association of Second Language Teacher.

John has worked as an NSTU school representative, Local President, RRC Chair, and Provincial Executive Member.  He has worked on several Local and Provincial NSTU committees.

Always willing to assist, John has been a presenter at the NSLTA on NSTU Professional Associations Conference Day.

Thank you, John, for your endless commitment, dedication, and enthusiasm to the Shelburne Local.

Wanda Nickerson

Wanda has been a dedicated educator in Shelburne County for 32 years at the Cape Sable Island family of elementary schools as a classroom teacher and a resource teacher.

Wanda is “very appreciative to the NSTU for the many opportunities they support”. In 2001-2002 she was awarded a PDAF grant, a Sheonoroil Foundation grant, and an Article 60 grant for a project addressing bullying at her school.  Wanda has regularly attended the NSTU Provincial Conference.  She has been honoured during the Shelburne Local’s Education Week celebrations.

Wanda has served as NSTU representative for several years.  She has been a valuable member on various committees at the local level.  Most recently she has served on the Education Week Committee, Retirement Banquet Committee, and our Education Award Committee.

It is with great honour, Wanda, to recognize you for this award.  Thank you for your dedicated service to the teachers in your local.

Yarmouth Local

Heather Rideout

Heather graduated from Acadia in 1977 with a BMusEd. She started in New Minas Elementary before moving to Yarmouth where she has taught in various schools.

She has always been passionate about her field, fighting for Music to be valued and protected in times of cuts. She has served as Local Liaison for the NSMEA, and as liaison between Tri-County Music teachers and the Board.

Heather has served the Local in many capacities: Annual Council delegate, Treasurer (ten years), and Committees including Professional Development, Social, Board-Teacher, and Economic Welfare. This last was always of particular interest to Heather, who took on a number of causes when she saw things as unfair for teachers.

Most recently, Heather achieved changes to the wording of the Teachers’ Pension Act Regulations to protect part-time teachers who also substitute in their final five years of teaching.

The Yarmouth Local congratulates Heather for a very successful career and wishes her all the best in her upcoming retirement.

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