The Federation hosted an awards ceremony on November 17, the evening prior to the November meeting of Provincial Council. The ceremony recognized those members who were recipients of the Provincial Executive Award or a Life Membership from over the past couple of years.
The Provincial Executive Award is bestowed upon a member who in the opinion of the Provincial Executive has rendered meritorious and outstanding services to the OSSTF/FEESO at both the provincial and local level.
Provincial Executive Awards were given to the following members:
Jeff became part of the local Collective Bargaining Committee in District 9 Greater Essex and the negotiations table team. He became President of the Teachers’ Bargaining Unit and the District in 2011. He served in both President roles until 2017 at which time he chose to return to his home school while his children attended high school.
Rob started on the District 6A Thunder Bay Teachers’ Bargaining Unit negotiating team in 1988 and then held various Bargaining Unit and District positions. He also served as Teachers’ Bargaining Unit and District President and as the District Provincial Councillor. Rob moved from his job as a teacher to Provincial Office in the Educational Services Department as an Executive Assistant in 2012.
Shelley began her work with OSSTF/FEESO in District 13 Durham where she served as Chief Negotiator and President. She served as OTF Governor from 2006 to 2010. Later, Shelley was hired as an Executive Assistant. Shelley worked primarily in collective bargaining where she served in this capacity for almost 10 years. Tragically, Shelley passed away at age 58, on March 9, 2020, following a short battle with cancer.
Rob Shaheen was a computer teacher before he started in the District 26 Upper Canada Office in the early 2000s as Chief Negotiator for the Teachers’ Bargaining Unit. He was a major contributor on the Collective Bargaining Committee for years and then on the Protective Services Committee. Rob was hired in August of 2019 into the Protective Services department of the Provincial Office.
Dave was elected the First Vice-President in District 14 in 2009 and later as the Teachers’ Bargaining Unit President, a role he holds again today. At AMPA 2019 Dave Warda was elected as a Provincial Executive Officer.
Leslie Wolfe has been an OSSTF/FEESO Member since 1988. She was a leader in District 12, Toronto Teachers’ Bargaining Unit for over twenty years. She was elected to the Provincial Executive as an Executive Officer from 2011 to 2013.
Life Memberships were bestowed to the following members:
Domenic began his career working in children’s mental health at the Toronto District School Board. In 1997, he joined the OSSTF/FEESO Provincial Office as an organizer before moving to the Communications and Political Action Department. He became Director of that department in 2011 and retired from OSSTF/FEESO as the Associate General Secretary of Professional Services after 25 years of service to the Federation.
Brad Bennett joined the Provincial Office in 2006 after several years as the Teachers’ Bargaining Unit President in Greater Essex. Brad served as the Director of the Negotiations and Contract Maintenance Department and led OSSTF/ FEESO into the first round of bargaining under the School Boards Collective Bargaining Act. Brad also served as the Associate General Secretary of Protective Services and ended his career as the General Secretary.
Harvey Bischof began his career as a Secondary School English teacher and quickly joined his local District 13 Durham Executive. From there, he ran for and was elected to the Provincial Executive. He spent an unprecedented 14 years on the Provincial Executive retiring as Provincial President in 2021. During the job action of 2019-2020, Harvey became the face and voice of publicly-funded education in the province and led the Federation through the most difficult round of bargaining OSSTF/FEESO had seen up to that time.
After only two years as a Branch President at Vaughan Secondary School, Stephen Bloom was elected in 1997 as Vice-President of District 16 Teachers’ Bargaining Unit. He became the District 16 York Chief Negotiator/Staffing Officer/ Grievance Officer. In August 2010, Stephen joined the staff at Provincial Office as an Executive Assistant in the Member Protection/Negotiations and Contract Maintenance Departments.
After leaving the classroom, Earl Burt served as a Member of the District 12 Toronto Teachers’ Bargaining Unit Executive for nine years, including two years as the local Vice-President. In 2009, Earl was elected as Treasurer on the Provincial Executive, a position he would hold for 12 years. During his time on the Provincial Executive, Earl demonstrated an attention to detail when it involved the Federation’s finances and became known for his passion for progressive causes.
Pierre worked as a psychologist for the Conseil des écoles publiques d’Ottawa-Carleton and the Ottawa Board of Education before being hired as an Executive Assistant in 1997 working primarily in the Communications and Political Action Department, where he served as Director from 2005-2007. He became an Associate General Secretary in 2007 and then General Secretary in 2010.
Kerri started teaching in 1989 in Ottawa and within two years, she was on the local negotiating team. She was elected to the full-time release position of Chief Negotiator of the Teachers’ Bargaining Unit in Ottawa-Carleton. In 2011, she arrived at Provincial Office as a bargainer in the Negotiations and Contract Maintenance Department. In 2016, Kerri became the first female Director of that department. From there, she became Associate General Secretary of Protective Services, the position from which she retired.
Bob Fisher was a Federation Officer and Chief Negotiator in District 11 Thames Valley when he was hired by Provincial Office in 2004, leading to a long and distinguished career across multiple departments at Mobile Drive. His leadership and expertise led to him being appointed Director of the Member Protection Department. Bob retired in that role in 2021.
Kerry served as Branch President, Executive Officer, and Vice-President and then was elected as President of the District 25 Ottawa-Carleton Teachers’ Bargaining Unit in 2006. Kerry was hired to the Provincial Office in 2010 and very quickly became a respected and valued mentor to local leaders where she was assigned.
Dave Russell first became involved in OSSTF/FEESO in 1998 as a Branch President at Oakridge Secondary School in London. He served in multiple roles for District 11 Thames Valley and the Teachers’ Bargaining Unit including Secretary, Chief Negotiator, and five years as President. Dave brought his skills and experience to the Provincial Office when he was hired as Executive Assistant in 2010.
At the conclusion of the awards ceremony on November 17, Domenic Bellissimo spoke eloquently on behalf of all award recipients. A copy of his remarks is available here.