Bluewater District School Board Chair Jan Johnstone is being recognized provincially for her outstanding service as a public school board trustee. Chair Johnstone is this year’s recipient of the Dr. Harry Paikin Award of Merit, a distinct honour administered annually by the Ontario Public School Boards' Association (OPSBA).
Dr. Harry Paikin was a school board trustee who served in the City of Hamilton for over 40 years. After he passed away in 1985, an award was dedicated by colleagues and friends to honour his lifelong support of learning, which included an affinity for poetry and oration.
On July 6, Chair Johnstone accepted the honour at a special ceremony held in Toronto as part of OPSBA’s 2019 Annual General Meeting. Selection was determined by a panel of judges tasked with reviewing nomination submissions from school boards, teacher federations, school councils, education and municipal authorities, as well as individuals across Ontario.
Chair Johnstone was recognized for her longstanding service of over 18 years as a trustee in Bluewater District School Board. During her tenure, which has included three terms as Chair, she has proven herself as a strong advocate for public education on behalf of her constituents in the Municipality of Kincardine and Township of Huron-Kinloss, and the district as a whole. Provincially, she has served for many years as the local OPSBA representative, where she has advocated for rural students in numerous causes related to social justice, equity, and inclusion. Some of her most passionate focus areas have included Indigenous education, youth mental health and wellness, outdoor education programs, parent advocacy, and the needs of students with learning exceptionalities.
“I am truly honoured and humbled to receive the Dr. Harry Paikin Award of Merit,” says Chair Johnstone. “From a young age, I have always had a desire to help children through education. This award symbolizes my passion for public education, and I am so proud to stand alongside the excellence of its past recipients.”
“On behalf of Bluewater District School Board, I would like to wholeheartedly congratulate Chair Johnstone on this wonderful accomplishment,” says Director of Education Alana Murray. “Jan has been a longtime champion of public education, and I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this provincial recognition.”