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FMPSD ​Celebrates 40th Annual Employee Recognition Event Virtually

FMPSD ​Celebrates 40th Annual Employee Recognition Event Virtually

Leona is the longest-serving employee in FMPSD's history Leona is the longest-serving employee in FMPSD's history

It wasn’t how we usually celebrate milestones, thanks to a pandemic that isn’t going away anytime soon - it seems. But, the Fort McMurray Public School Division (FMPSD) Family celebrated its own on May 6, 2021 as over 100 staffers were honoured virtually. 

Leona Anderson, our longest serving employee, retired this year after 42 years with the Division. She worked in the Operations & Maintenance department and is known across the Division for her ever-ready smile, and friendliness.

“I’ll miss FMPSD’s people the most. And, I’ll miss the kids running up to me to see what was in my containers,” shared Leona, who held several positions through the years ranging from custodian, building operator, shipping/receiving to most recently courier and painter. 

“Leona worked in all kinds of weather with a smile. She embraced the elements like a veteran McMurrayite would,” noted Phil Meagher, Chief Deputy Superintendent, FMPSD. 

“She always took the time to talk to people and always kept up on FMPSD news. Leona will be missed around the entire Division, we wish her all the best in her very well-deserved retirement,” Meagher added. 

The recognition event saw four long-service honorees: Nancy Ball, Coordinator, Teacher Capacity completed 40 years with FMPSD while Rhonda Blanchette, Kitty Cochrane, and Linda Acheson (photo in order below) all hit the 30-year milestone. 


“As I reflect on my 40 years with FMPSD, I remember so many of my students and our celebrations when they achieved their goals. I recall colleagues past and present who supported me in my career and whom I consider members of my extended family. And so to students, parents, and colleagues, thank you for making my career so meaningful,” enthused Ball. 

Linda Acheson, Human Resources Coordinator with Division Office dubs her three decades “unbelievable.”

“It has been both challenging and rewarding. I am proud to be part of the team that put our HR paper processes online. It all started with job postings. No more paper postings going to the schools via courier and principals no longer had to come to the office to look at all the resumes. FMPSD was and is a career choice because of the work and the people. There hasn't been a day when I have not wanted to come to work,” noted Acheson. 

Rhonda Blanchette, Supervisor of Inclusive Education, also at Division Office shared her sentiments. 

“I am honoured to be recognized for 30 years with the Fort McMurray Public School Division. Throughout my career I have seen many changes, but one constant has been the multitude of people that I have been fortunate enough to teach, to connect with, and work with. Although we often hear the phrase, "Doing What's Best for Kids," I have witnessed it through the decades and have been supported in my pursuit of doing just that. I'm proud to be on the FMPSD team, and look forward to continuing my story here.”

Kitty Cochrane, Grade 3 teacher at École Dickinsfield School said she joined FMPSD because it “values and celebrates diversity and human rights.”

“It has always been a Division that encourages staff and students to try new things, set goals, and celebrate accomplishments. It's hard to believe I've taught here 30 years already, as each day is dynamic and I learn something new. I look forward to many more years of learning and teaching with FMPSD,” enthused Cochrane.

FMPSD Superintendent, Jennifer Turner congratulated all the honorees. 

“Someone once wisely said an organization is only as good as its people. Every word of this quote is apt - especially when it comes to the FMPSD Family. Our employees are the heart and soul of the Fort McMurray Public School Division. And, now more than ever they have proven just so time and time again. The annual Recognition Night is an homage to everyone who has made Doing What’s Best for Kids a calling, and not just a job.”

“To those of you celebrating milestones - thank you for your outstanding years of service. We look forward to many more years of your excellent contributions to our students, staff and families. To those of you retiring, thank you for choosing to make FMPSD your home. We couldn’t have done this without your wisdom, and expertise,” Superintendent Turner added.

Linda Mywaart, Board Chair congratulated all the honorees.

“During this year, our staff have impacted the lives of over 6300 students. This weird pandemic time has changed some of the ways in which we do things, but it hasn’t changed the words of our motto, or the dedicated passionate work of serving our students. As a Board, we are so grateful for the leadership of Superintendent Jennifer Turner, who imparts skills, wisdom and strength to you. And, equally draws out your own strengths and expertise.”

“At no time previously has the collaborative effort of our staff been so important to students as it has been now. You have all continued to learn and lead with vision and excellence and availed yourself of online opportunities that have literally brought the world to our schools. Nobody has done everything, but everybody has done something. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I say thank you to each and every one of you. You are wonderful,” Chair Mywaart said.

Congratulations all! And, thank you for choosing FMPSD.