Former Trustee John Hendry receives provincial award

Former Trustee John Hendry is the recipient of the Ontario Public School Board Association (OPSBA) President’s Award. This award, given out annually, recognizes trustees who have served their communities for more than 25 years.

Director of Education John Bryant presented Hendry with his award at the OPSBA Public Education Symposium in Toronto.  Our director of education offered the following comments when presenting the award:

I am honoured to be here tonight to recognize a former trustee from Waterloo Region District School Board, John Hendry.

On behalf of our board chair, Jayne Herring and myself, and before I make some more formal remarks, I would like to share a little bit about John Hendry.  John served his country in the Royal Canadian Navy and then after his service he obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree and Business Administration Diploma from Wilfrid Laurier University.  He has been married to his wife Linda for 55 years and they have 3 children, 5 grandchildren and 1 great-grandchild.

Both John and Linda have been major contributors to our community.  For years they welcomed international rotary students into their home and family and I have personally witnessed Linda provide leadership to the Maycourt Club of Kitchener-Waterloo, an organization supporting marginalized children and youth  – always with John standing proudly at her side. Such a fine example of a great partnership.

John has authored and published two books titled “Held Back by Nothing” and “Never Say Never” and has also had his articles published in international magazines.

In addition to serving as a trustee, John has had a very busy public speaking career where he has been invited on four occasions to speak at the Pacific Rim International Conference on Disabilities and Inclusion and he is also an active member of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers.

For over 30 years, John served as a trustee in our school district. John showed himself to be motivated and tirelessly dedicated to advocating on behalf of students with special education needs.

John was a member of the Special Education Advisory Committee, where he built relationships with students, their families, staff and community organizations, for more than 25 years. During this time John served as a member of the Minister’s Advisory Council on special education, a position he held for six years.

As a member of our Accessibility Committee, John used his expertise to make sure that we stayed on track to make our schools accessible spaces for everyone to learn. John shared his knowledge of accessibility at the provincial level when he served on the Accessibility Standards Council/Standards Development Committee of Ontario for five years.

As you may have noticed, John is passionate about accessibility and supporting our students with special needs. But his passion extends to more than these issues. John is passionate about public education and the essential role trustees play.

We all know that often, trustees and staff must make difficult decisions. John always kept student achievement at the forefront of his decision making. He wanted to understand how decisions would impact students and their families. During budget deliberations, he advocated for additional supports for students and always thanked our finance staff for their hard work.

Over the past three years, my senior team and I have implemented a new strategic plan and operational goals. John supported our efforts every step of the way. He encouraged staff and recognized the energy and commitment they put into their work.

There were many reasons to celebrate around our board table during John’s tenure as trustee. From school openings and anniversary celebrations, good news updates and community partnerships to balanced budgets, John always celebrated the achievements and accomplishments of staff and his fellow trustees.

The OPSBA President’s Award recognizes trustees “…who have stood by their vision and selflessly given of themselves to the students and parents of Ontario.” I can think of no better recipient than John Hendy.

John, on behalf of the Waterloo Region District School Board, trustees, staff, students and families, congratulations on receiving the OPSBA President’s Award.

OPSBA President Cathy Abraham, Director of Education John Bryant, former Trustee John Hendry and WRDSB Chairperson Jayne Herring at the OPSBA Public Education Symposium.