Dr. Avis Glaze to review Nova Scotia's education system
October 19, 2017
It didn’t take long for internationally renowned education leader Dr. Avis Glaze to decide to accept an offer to review Nova Scotia’s education administrative model.
A teleconference call with the province’s Premier Stephen McNeil sealed the deal for the Jamaican-born British Columbia-based expert who will look at how public schools are administered, including elected school boards and their central office administration, along with the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.
“After I hung the phone up following my conversation with the Premier, I said I want to do this,” said Glaze who the New Zealand government appointed seven years ago to an independent technical advisory panel to support the implementation of national standards in reading, writing and math. “From the Premier down to the Minister of Education & Early Childhood Development (33-year-old Zach Churchill) and his deputy (Sandra McKenzie), they are all speaking with one voice about what they want for Nova Scotians. I cleared my calendar and cancelled some engagements, some of which were overseas, to do this important work.
“I was really impressed by what they wanted. I got really excited because I thought here is a system that is already a good one, but they want to improve it. They think it can be better. This is a system that is investing in education in spite of declining enrolment. That’s fascinating.”
Glaze, the president of Edu-quest International Inc. which is a consulting firm that offers a wide range of educational services globally, will conduct a review with a focus on a student-centred education system and make recommendations for improvement in four areas.
They are the roles, responsibilities and administrative structure of school boards, board administration and the education department; processes and management structure in all areas of administration and operations, including human resources, finance, transportation and programs to ensure effective and efficient use of resources; increased accountability, transparency, effectiveness and efficiency in decision-making, including budgetary decisions and resources allocation and strengthening inter-agency service delivery for children, youth and their families.
“The review will also consider the cultural, linguistic and geographic context of the Nova Scotia education system and current government priorities for public education,” Glaze, a University of the West Indies graduate, pointed out. “They want to better reflect Acadian, African-Nova Scotian, Gaelic and Mi’kmaq cultures and focus on classroom conditions which I think is wonderful.”
Churchill is confident that Glaze is the right person for the challenging assignment.
“This review is about ensuring our system is working as well as it can for the maximum benefit of our students,” he said. “It’s been two decades since we’ve taken a look at our administrative model. I believe we could benefit from the breadth and depth of experience that Avis will bring to bear on this review.”
After a brief weekend home visit, Glaze was back in Halifax last Monday for consultations with stakeholders that will run until November 4.
She is expected to submit her report by December 31.
“It’s going to be very hard to wrap up by then,” Glaze, who has a passion for character development, admitted. “But I am a hard worker and I am going to work night and day.”
There just couldn’t be a better choice to conduct the review.
A former York Region District School Board (YRDSB) associate director of education and superintendent and director of education with the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board, Glaze served on the Ontario Royal Commission on Learning and was chosen by the Canadian government to assist with education reform in South Africa.
She was Ontario’s first chief student achievement officer and chief executive of the literacy and numeracy secretariat where she played a key role in improving student achievement in the province’s schools prior to becoming Ontario’s Education Commissioner and senior adviser to the Minister of Education.
Glaze also served five years up until 1991 as the York Region Catholic District School Board assistant superintendent and superintendent of education.
She and her husband relocated to British Columbia in 2011.