The CTF executive committee for 2017–18 (from left to right)
Sam Hammond, vice-president (Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario), Francine LeBlanc-Lebel, vice-president (Association des enseignantes et des enseignants franco-ontariens), Clint Johnston, vice-president (British Columbia Teachers’ Federation), Mark Ramsankar, president (Alberta Teachers’ Association)
Bethany MacLeod, vice-president (Prince Edward Island Teachers’ Federation), James Dinn, vice-president (Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers’ Association)
CTF hands out awards
Carol Henderson accepts a Special Recognition Award from CTF president Heather Smith
OTTAWA – Former Alberta Teachers’ Association president Carol Henderson received a Special Recognition Award from the Canadian Teachers’ Federation at its annual general meeting in July.
The ATA nominated Henderson, who served two terms as its president, from 2009 to 2013, while bravely undergoing treatment for lymphoblastic leukemia. The former teacher and music specialist also served as ATA provincial vice-president and district representative for the Calgary District. She has been a member of the CTF board of directors, the University of Calgary’s Education Faculty Advisory Committee, and several committees within the ATA.
The Federation also presented a Special Recognition Award to Susan Swackhammer, the first vice- president of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO). In its letter of nomination, ETFO described Swackhammer as an “intrepid women’s rights advocate and champion.” In 1988, Swackhammer led the first occasional teachers’ strike in Canada while serving as president of the Brant Teacher Local. She also played an instrumental role in the formation of ETFO and its governance structures.
CTF presented its Aboriginal Elder Award to Garry Robson, a poet, storyteller, long-time Aboriginal awareness consultant, and now retiree who is a member of the Turtle Clan of the Peguis Anishinaabe Nation in Manitoba. For 28 years, Robson traveled extensively throughout Manitoba and Canada to deliver presentations to students, parents, educators, administrators, government departments and community agencies. He also served as an elder/advisor on dozens of policy and curriculum documents, and has written many poems. Robson was nominated by the Manitoba Teachers’ Society, who praised his “real gift to tell the truth about history in a kind and gentle manner.”
The winner of the CTF Outstanding Aboriginal Educator Award was Debbie White, who was nominated by the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario (ETFO). Throughout her career, White worked as an educator in elementary schools and as an advocate for First Nations, Métis and Inuit education, giving voice to resolutions, recommendations and serving on a multitude of committees for ETFO, the CTF and the Peel Elementary Teachers’ Local. She has also been part of teams that have developed and facilitated workshops, organized student focus groups, and put forth school initiatives such as Shannen’s Dream.
The CTF Public Education Advocacy Award was presented to Frontier College, Canada’s oldest literacy organization. Since 1989, it has been offering a variety of programs across the country to help people of all ages with their literacy skills. The organization also conducts research on literacy and provides online resources for students, parents and teachers. The Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association nominated Frontier College because of its “longstanding dedication to uplifting literacy levels in Canada’s Indigenous communities and its major contribution to public education in our country.” ❚
Former ATA president takes over as CTF president
OTTAWA – Former ATA president Mark Ramsankar took over the presidency of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF), following a changeover on July 14 at the CTF’s annual general meeting in Ottawa. Ramsankar replaced Heather Smith, who served as the Federation’s president from 2015 to 2017. Ramsankar, who served as ATA president until June 30, was elected as the CTF’s president-designate at last year’s AGM.
“The support and encouragement I’ve received from Alberta teachers over the years has been tremendous,” Ramsankar said. “I’m extremely grateful to them and look forward to serving them, along with their Canadian colleagues, in my new capacity.”
ATA past-president Mark Ramsankar works in his new office at CTF headquarters in Ottawa. Ramsankar officially took over as CTF president in July.
Prior to his election as president-designate, Ramsankar served five terms as a vice-president of the CTF, where he chaired the CTF Advisory Committee on
Aboriginal Education. In 2013, he was elected president of the ATA following
two terms as vice-president. Since 1986, he has worked in the field of education and served Alberta teachers, garnering experience as an educator, assistant principal and leader of teachers’ associations at the local and provincial level.
While representing teachers across Canada, he continues to focus on developing meaningful relationships among teachers, education leaders and colleagues from the provincial, national and international education community.
As Ramsankar assumed the presidency, AGM delegates elected new vice-presidents for year-long terms. ❚