Educational Leadership Awards Presented At LEADS ASC

LEADS held its Annual Spring Conference on March 11-13, 2024 in Saskatoon.  Approximately 185 participants were in attendance during the three days of various events.  LEADS is the professional organization for all senior educational administrators in the Province of Saskatchewan.  Working through its members and with education and human service organizations, LEADS provides leadership to facilitate enhanced outcomes in the academic, personal, social and spiritual development of all children and youth in Saskatchewan.  In 2022, the LEADS Executive Board reintroduced three Educational Leadership Awards:

  • the Exceptional Student Award recognizes two final-year Teacher Education students who have demonstrated a significant effort to improve the well-being and experiences of Saskatchewan students through their innovative and personal contributions;
  • the Distinguished Service Award recognizes current exceptional senior leadership within the PK to 12 Education Sector; and
  • the Merit Award recognizes past exceptional senior leadership within the PK to 12 Education Sector.

On behalf of the LEADS Executive Board and all LEADS members, thank you and congratulations to the following recipients:

Exceptional Student Award – Kate Boyer

Kate is an outstanding student with averages in the great distinction category; one would not know of her distinguished academia as she does not promote herself in ways that are not humble.  She creates a warm relationship with youth and engages her curiosity for learning with her students positively and productively.  Her distinct flair for creativity and art prose have supported important learning in the arts for children.  Kate’s artistic qualities are parts of illustrations for children’s books and screened onto SUNTEP swag.  Consequently, Kate’s impressive athleticism in the gymnasium and with outdoor learning adventure has greatly enhanced her teaching in secondary and supports students in soccer, volleyball and basketball.  Kate began her journey towards becoming a teacher after she spent some time in the Gabriel Dumont College and the Arts & Science College where she impressed with her precision thinking and doing, as well as her conscientiousness within anti-racist and anti-oppressive understandings.  She is very aware of the barriers that have oppressed Indigenous peoples and works towards creating a space for improved learning within these discourses.  Kate promotes her Métis culture and heritage proudly; she can be counted on to present the traditional dance and jigging steps of the Métis and has been asked to perform throughout the Indigenous community, the University of Saskatchewan community and the greater Saskatoon community.  Kate implemented the traditional dances of the Métis in her student teaching and promises to implement much more when she becomes a teacher.  Kate is a natural leader filled with a great awareness of why it’s necessary to connect with her Indigenous pedagogy, promote positive connections with culture and inspire others to be proud of their roots.  These are admirable qualities for teaching and learning.

Exceptional Student Award – Ace Casimiro

Ace has been the recipient of previous awards, including Ogema, Saskatchewan’s Community Spirit Scholarship; recognized for his dedication, enthusiasm, larger-than-life personality and ability to lead as a positive role model”.  Last year, he was awarded the University of Regina Retirees Legacy Scholarship as a student entering their final year for his exceptional coursework in the Faculty of Education.  Only the second Faculty of Education student to receive this award, “Ace’s final project was a series of detailed online learning modules for teachers of English Language Learners to become more inclusive…(seeing) an actual need in the world and creating professional quality resources to meet that need and ways to motivate teachers to change their practice”.  Having maintained strong academic achievement throughout his undergraduate program, Ace has been named to the Dean’s Honour Roll and has earned a Certificate of Extended Studies in Early Childhood Education while working to complete his Bachelor of Education Degree.  During his internship, Ace demonstrated innovative programming, instructional strategies and modeling; being nominated by his co-operating teacher for the Dr. Hellmut Lang Education Award.  One of his main goals during practicum teaching was to “consult and confirm with students how they want to approach their learning while taking into account their learning styles and needs, as well as their academic personal histories”.  As a Science major, Ace not only taught in the Sciences during his internship but also in Elementary and Senior Maths, and in a multi-grade classroom incorporating Treaty Education into his Unit plans.  While in his placement, his co-operating teacher noted Ace’s ability to adapt to varied demands and students’ differentiated needs.  He participated in newcomer initial assessment, STAR assessments, and Fountas and Pinnell benchmarking.  He also helped to provide an individualized Precision Reading program.

Distinguished Service Award – Gwen Keith, Director of Education, Holy Family Roman Catholic Separate School Division

Gwen has spent over 50 years in education, with 27 years in CEO positions in rural, urban and northern settings serving publically funded K-12 school systems.  Gwen served as the Executive Director of a Jesuit Academy, Mother Teresa Middle School, a school of innovation in North Central Regina.  She was Director of Education for Regina Catholic Schools for 14 years.  Additionally, Gwen has served on several boards including Notre Dame, Campion and the Canadian Evaluation Society.  She shared her talents as past President of the University of Regina Alumni Association and has taught classes at the University of Regina in student diversity and student assessment.  As the Director of Education, and a member of LEADS, she has led Holy Family since 2013.  Gwen has served as LEADS President, led many initiatives including key roles in the development of the provincial education sector plan; led Sask Reads, provincial well-being symposiums, numerous provincial advisory committees, and mentored many LEADS members. Specifically, as a female senior administrator in education, Gwen continues to support and guide women in leadership roles, both personally and professionally.  While serving in these leadership capacities, Gwen has ensured that her passionate care in directing a ‘student first’ system is clearly evident.  Whether with personalized messages to staff, or energy-filled visits to the schools and classrooms, everyone feels the passion she has for providing an atmosphere where children can not only grow and learn, but flourish in building relationships and becoming community.  Whether speaking to her Board, or reading a story to Kindergarten students, you can feel Gwen’s deep love and commitment to children.  Gwen is extremely well connected across Canada.  She has been involved with New Pedagogies for Deep Learning with Michael Fullan; C21, an organization that advocates for 21st Century models of learning in education; and is a member of EdCan which is an organization that focuses on wellness strategies for staff and students across Canada.  Gwen is the epitome of a life-long learner.  There are few, if any, in LEADS who are better read, more research based, or with a paralleled thirst for knowledge and learning.  Her unwavering dedication to all those she serves within our division, in LEADS, and the entire education sector both provincially and nationally is an inspiration to anyone who knows her.

Merit Award – Gordon Martell

Gord was with Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools for more than 30 years.  He served as a LEADS member for 20 years in a senior executive leadership role as Superintendent of Education.  Gord is a lifelong learner and a gifted academic.  He completed his Education degree through ITEP with a specialization in Native Studies, English, and Indian and Northern Education.  In 1998 Gordon obtained a Masters of Education and completed his PhD in 2008.  Since retiring from the school division, Gordon has been supporting students in their education at the University of Saskatchewan.  He was recently appointed to the College of Education’s Department of Educational Administration as an assistant professor.  Gordon was awarded the Saskatchewan Centennial Medal for Voluntary Leadership.  He has served on the board of directors for the Child Hunger and Education Program, the City of Saskatoon Race Relations Committee, the Queen’s House of Retreats, St. Paul’s Hospital, the Canadian Education Association, the United Way of Saskatoon and the United Way of Canada.  He also sat on the Boards of the Royal University Hospital Foundation and the Saskatoon Board of Police Commissioners.  He is also currently serving on the Saskatoon Diocesan Council for Truth and Reconciliation.  Gordon has always been a  passionate leader in education over his career.  He believes deeply in sharing the history of the Indigenous people of Saskatchewan, while continuing to challenge systems to adapt and change to better provide equitable opportunities and outcomes for all students, including Indigenous students.  As a LEADS member, Gordon provided a lot of support in the development of the module focusing on First Nations and Métis Education.  His knowledge and perspectives as an indigenous leader and learner were instrumental in increasing the knowledge for all LEADS members.  As a LEADS member, Gordon worked closely with all partners in the education sector and offered an invaluable voice in work within the school division, LEADS, SSBA and the Ministry of Education.  Gordon’s focus has been on those children and youth who are most vulnerable.  His commitment was always to provide the opportunity for all children to have access to what they need to be both successful and the tools to achieve their dreams.