Local Service Award Recipients - 2016


Margaret O’Neil

Margie first began her teaching career in 1980 in McLennan Alberta, where she taught for three years before moving to Toronto. While teaching in Toronto, she attended evening classes at York University where she completed an FSL course.

It was in 1984 when Margie returned to Antigonish where she taught at various grade levels in many schools. She first became a school rep in 2002 while teaching in Heatherton/Reverend H.J. MacDonald School and attended Annual Council as an observer. She was also a member of the former Women in Education Committee (Equity Committee) for three years, in which she not only attended but organized various workshops on teacher wellness.

After having transferred to the Antigonish Education Centre, Margie once again became a rep in 2009 to present day.  Margie’s dedication to the teaching profession and as a local rep has proven her to be a candidate well deserving of this award.

Cape Breton District

Patsy MacQueen

Patsy MacQueen has been a dedicated union member since the beginning of her career over thirty years ago.   She has served on several committees, among them:  Employee Assistance, Professional Development and Public Affairs/Public Relations.  She also lent her support to other committees by attending sessions they sponsored.  Perhaps her greatest contribution has been as a school representative, a role she filled for a number of different schools over the years.  In that capacity she was an active participant in both General and Council meetings, and could always be counted upon to “get the answers” for fellow teachers seeking information.  For your service, always rendered with a smile, Cape Breton District Local  thanks you with this Service Award.  Well done, Patsy!

Laurie Ross

Laurie is a long standing NSTU supporter and worker dating back to 1980. She has spent 5 years as school representative at Sacred Heart Elementary School in Sydney, along with 12 years in the same role at both St. Anne’s Elementary School and Oceanview Education Centre in Glace Bay. Along with performing the duties of school representative, Laurie has also been heavily involved in local committee work as a member of the Communications committee and some time on the local Nominations committee. Laurie regularly attends local workshops and has attended many rep retreats over the years. One of her proudest moments was when she stood in solidarity with hundreds of other NSTU members during the “Kids not Cuts” demonstration held outside former Deputy Premier Frank Corbett’s office in New Waterford. Laurie is to be commended for her involvement in local NSTU affairs. Her leadership in this regard is absolutely noteworthy.

Colchester-East Hants

Robert George

CEHL is proud to nominate Robert George who is very deserving of a Local Service Award. He has dedicated 33 years of his life to the teaching profession, a large part of which was dedicated to involvement in the NSTU. He contributed locally, regionally and provincially.

Robert served on CEHL Executive from 2004 - 2010 as Social Chair and VP of Economic Welfare and from 2010-2015 he served as President. Previous to serving on the executive he was on committees and a school representative for many years. He also attended Annual Council from 2003-2015.

Regionally Robert was on the RRC from 2009-2015 and served as Chair from 2012-2014. In addition he was on the negotiating committee for two regional contracts.

At the provincial level, Robert had the opportunity to participate in the John Huntley Internship. He served on the Appeals Committee from 2008-2010 and on the Public Affairs Committee from 2011-2013.

Community College

Sandy Dyke

Sandy has been one of the most active and effective members of our local from its inception to the present and he is certainly "outstanding" and has given "meritorious service" throughout.

During his working life, Sandy has been constantly involved in the Union or Professional Association movement. Starting with the Loggers and Paperworkers Unions, he then became involved in the Manitoba Teachers’ Society as a local president and provincial committee member. In the College system in Manitoba, he served as the local president of the Manitoba Government Employees Union. Here in Nova Scotia, he has been involved with the NSTU from the creation of the Community College Local. He has served as Local Rep, Local Committee member, VP Economic Welfare for Faculty, Local Secretary, Pension Appeals Committee member, Negotiations Team member, Provincial PD Committee member, and is currently a member of the NSTU Provincial Executive. 

Sandy has always offered the wisdom of his experience to colleagues.  As a mentor to many, he has modeled what is best in unionism with tactful, supportive guidance and genuine caring. 


Pat Hillier

Pat has been actively involved with the NSTU since returning to Nova Scotia in 1999 as a mid-career teacher.  Presently, she teaches Science and Healthy Living at E.B. Chandler Junior High in Amherst.

Pat is a most valued member of the NSTU who over the years has served in the capacity of volunteer of many local, regional and provincial groups and committees.  Locally, Pat has been elected to local executive positions including Treasurer, VP Communications, and Local President.  She also gave her time as a committee member on the Finance, Professional Development and Social Committees.  Regionally, Pat was elected as Vice Chair of the CRRC, and was a member of the Negotiating and Regional Asking Package Committees.  At the provincial level, Pat was elected to the Provincial Executive and served for five years.  Over the years, Pat held many positions on the following committees:  Personnel, Governance, Finance & Property, Resolutions, Curriculum, Professional Development, Pensions, Public Affairs, Nominating (Chair 2010), PEWC.  Pat also attended Annual Council for many years serving many times as a voting delegate and also as a chair of a provincial committee.

Pat’s non-union/non-teaching activities find her involved with the Cumberland Child Advocacy Association & Youth Foundation, Cumberland Futures Community Fund and the Teachers Plus Credit Union. 

Pat has two adult daughters, enjoys walking on the beach and has a love for life!   She is an inspiration to all who know her and Cumberland Local highly recommends her for this honour.

Holly MacDonald

Holly MacDonald has been an exemplary active member of the NSTU, participating in various committees over the years in Cumberland area, Cape Breton region and Halifax area for approximately 30 years. She has been a full time teacher with CCRSB and APSEA and presently serves as an Executive member - VP of Professional Development Committee NSTU Cumberland.

Some of her past involvement includes:  NSTU Appeals Committee; Aviso Editorial Content Committee; PACC–Provincial Committee; Member of PA ATYA Treasurer on Executive; Presently NSTU member of the Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committee working with NSGEU, CUPE and administration; Ongoing regular attendance at local NSTU Meetings; Attendance at Annual Council – observer; Past Chairperson of Nominating Committee – Cumberland Area; Past NSTU - Excellence in Teaching Committee and previous involvement - recipient of Excellence in Teaching Award.

Holly continues to lead Professional Development for colleagues in all areas. She provided training for administration and scoring of various tests in the areas of language development, reading and writing, provided sign language support, etc.  Teachers from other schools have requested teacher initiated in-service days in order to meet with her so she could support their learning in usage of reading strategies, sources of information - meaning, syntax, semantics, etc.

Holly has made many wonderful contributions to her teaching profession which have greatly influenced her colleagues, her students and their parents.

Halifax County Local

Peter Boudreau

Peter Boudreau is one of those people whose enthusiasm is infectious, he is game for anything and when he is in, he is ALL IN. This grade Primary French Immersion teacher started at St Catherine’s Elementary School in 1998, coming to Halifax County in 2001 via Beechville Lakeside Timberlea Junior Elementary, Millwood, Gertrude Parker and now back to BLT, Jr.

In our Local, Peter has been a NSTU Representative for 13 years as a strong voice to and for the membership.

He linked our members to our union and to their rights and responsibilities. Peter was a member of the Women in Education, Equity & Reps, as well as Social & Wellness Committees. He was involved with the Teacherspiel, Teachers’ Bowling Tournament and Local Retirement Dinner & Dance for the last number of years.

Peter’s contribution is more than the list of volunteer roles he has taken on in our Local. It is that he engages the members around him, ready to answer questions, take on a task or just chat.

Arlene Hagen

Arlene Hagen has been an NSTU Rep for 28 years. During that time she has also been a committee member of Board/Teacher, Professional Development and now the Local Finance Committee. Arlene was part of our Local Executive as the Vice President of Professional Development and has been a delegate to Annual Council for 9 years.

Arlene’s leadership skills are a tremendous attribute to our Local. Her style does have her to lead from the front of the room, but from the floor where, with her vast knowledge and experience, she makes sure that our Local is wording resolutions properly, asking the right questions of Management/Teacher and balancing the budget with our core values in mind.

Arlene has taught in a number of different schools in Halifax County and has settled in at Colby Village Elementary since 1998. During this time she also earned her M.Ed., married and had three children, Sean, Mark and Kelsey.

Rod Hasey

Rod Hasey began teaching in the Northwest Territories where he began his union contributions in the NWTTA.

He continued his union involvement at an NSTU Representative for 20 more years in 6 different schools. Currently, Rod teaches at Hammonds Plains Consolidated School.

Rod’s dedication to his role as union rep is second to none. He actively engages the members at his school through meetings, displays, guest speakers, internal surveys and more. He also seeks information from them to provide to the Local so that we can do our best to improve the conditions for his members and for the Local / Region. His personal quest to enhance the teaching/learning conditions for our membership is steadfast.

Rod Hasey is a member who leads “from the floor”. He asks great questions and shares important information. This instills the significance of these two activities in the Local Council, which, in turn, strengthens our Local and our membership.

Tim MacLeod

Tim’s leadership style and skills have been developed throughout the last couple of decades through professional development at Saint Mary’s University, Halifax Regional School Board, course work and the NSTU LSDI for the last number of years. He has also held dozens of leadership roles within our organization and it is there that Tim’s work is deserving of this award.

As a Local President, Tim worked one-on-one with dozens, if not hundreds, of our members who were facing difficult issues and/or times. Whether Class Climate concerns, grievances, working conditions disputes or the implementation of PowerSchool, Tim’s compassionate approach made members feel wellserved and cared for. When Tim was unable to assist through the agreements or regular channels, he would take things to the next level and advocate strongly for the members in need. This was truly inspiring to see from the floor at our Local Council Meetings...motivating enough to rouse others to follow in his footsteps in Local leadership roles.

Tim’s unwavering support for our union and its members is to be commended. He does his best to hear all sides of situations, to gather information and to approach things with a fresh perspective in order to come to a palatable resolution.


Shelley Morse

Shelley Morse has been a visible, vocal, strong leader in the Kings Local, and has represented members of the NSTU at all levels of the organization. Shelley's devotion to the teaching profession and to those who share her passion for it, is admirable.

She is a proud graduate of the Nova Scotia Teachers College, and her own continued time as a student earning Masters degrees is further evidence of her passion for and support of learning. At Port Williams, Gaspereau, Aldershot and New Minas, Shelley spent most of her career in elementary school classrooms and as an administrator, and she has been a respected leader in just about every role in the Kings Local NSTU, from school rep to Local President, from PE Member to Chair of the RRC. She has been an active, engaged member since her first year of teaching!

We want to acknowledge Shelley's support, knowledge, experience and tireless efforts with a Local Service Award from her home in Kings! 

Lunenburg County

Carole Hipwell

Carole has been an active NSTU member since she moved to Nova Scotia from Ontario in 1999.  She began her teaching career in Ontario and was actively involved with the teacher’s union early in her career.  Always a strong advocate for workers & teachers’ rights and working conditions, Carole began her NSTU involvement as a school rep at New Germany Rural High.  She then became involved at the local level as VP of PD.  She has also held the positions of VP of Ec Welfare and President of the Lunenburg County Local.  At the regional level, Carole has been a member and Chair of the Article 60 committee, member of the OHS committee, chair of the South Shore RRC and a member of the Regional negotiating team.  At the provincial level, Carole has been chair of the Equity Committee and a member of PEWC and the provincial negotiating teams.  She has attended numerous Annual Councils and Leadership Development at St. FX, along with many provincial workshops and Union events like the Labour Day walk and the Bill 148 rally at the NS Legislature.  Carole is passionate about education and the students we teach, as well as international travel and other cultures and had the opportunity to teach in China.  She is thankful to the NSTU for their support and encouragement over the past 18 years and looks forward to her next adventure.

Chris Phillips

Chris Phillips is a dedicated and passionate educator with a strong belief in the value and importance of the NSTU for all teachers in Nova Scotia. Having served a total of 18.5 years as a school rep with the Lunenburg County Local, Chris has been a member of many local committees including Finance, Social, PA & PD, and Regional Negotiations. As VP of Public Affairs he regularly attended Board meetings to ensure the membership of the local was kept well informed.

Chris has attended four Annual Councils, two Equity conferences, Leadership and numerous retreats for the Lunenburg County Local.

Chris is now the VP of the South Shore Habitat for Humanity and is building its 3rd house. He worked tirelessly over the years to secure funding and a strong community support in developing a quality Tech Lab and woodworking program at Chester Area Middle School. His passion, story-telling and humour will be greatly missed.


Charles Yorke

Charles Yorke transferred union membership from the PEI Teachers’ Federation to the NVL in 1989 joining our PD and our Communication Committees. His commitment to serve membership quietly evolved in responsibility (speaking for members in adjudications). Over the past 31 years as a teacher, guidance counselor and now Principal, Charles served numerous local and provincial positions. He has humbly organized dozens of successful PD events after developing surveys to assess the PD needs and interest of membership. Charles is a reliable face of the NVL Executive but never felt comfortable in an Executive position and ready to take a seat with the RRC until he earned his stripes contributing to simply most every committee of our local. 

During his time as a member of the Nova Scotia School Counsellors Association (NSSCA) executive he was called upon to complete a term as Chair of the provincial Education Research Committee. In that role he encouraged the NSTU to co-host with Mt. St. Vincent University the first NSTU conference on Child Poverty. He was successful in gaining a $10,000.00 Federal contribution to the conference from then Hon. Min. Lloyd Axeworthy. 

Charles has served teachers in other roles. He co-designed the Cape Breton University Graduate Diploma in Education Counseling Program. He has instructed hundreds of teachers in graduate level courses for CBU, Mt. St. Vincent and UNB over the last 24 years. He is always excited to write an article for AVISO when requested and to speak on behalf of the work of teachers. Charles is instrumental in assisting students obtain scholarships, always a student based professional. 

Charles credits retired NVL retired teachers Judy Jackson and Betty Farrell and many other icons of education for his long interest in teacher unionism. 

Shelburne County

Lee Goreham-Smith

Lee Goreham-Smith has been a member of the NSTU for almost 28 years.  She began her career in 1988 at North Queens Elementary School, Queens County as a Special Education and Resource teacher.  In September 1989 she returned home to Shelburne County where she taught in several county schools and in a variety of subject areas.  For the past 23 years Lee has taught at her community school, ERMES, teaching all grade levels from Primary to six.  She accepted the position of principal for two years.

Along this journey, Lee became interested in the operations of the Shelburne County Local.  At her first meeting she was nominated and accepted the position of VP of Professional Development.  "Ignorance is bliss." It was a challenging and learning experience.  Lee has been First Vice President and Article 60 Representative.   She has attended Annual Council and Leadership Conferences for the past six years.  Lee is currently the treasurer of our Local; a position she has held for the past three years.  She felt that the NSTU had supported her for many years; it was time to give back. 

Lee is active in her church and community.  She founded the Barrington-Cape Sable Island Dialysis Support Group in an attempt to bring a satellite dialysis clinic to the Barrington area to help local patients in renal failure, including her husband.  Although retirement may happen in a few years, Lee has remained in the teaching profession because she loves what she does, the children and the smiles, accomplishments and achievements which she sees each day.  Lee says the "Ah ha" moments are priceless.