Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario

Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario

August 17, 2006 13:33 ET


Attention: Assignment Editor, City Editor, Education Editor, News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor TORONTO--(CCNMatthews - Aug. 17, 2006) - The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) celebrated four people last night at its Annual Meeting. Ruth Behnke from Thamesville, David Patterson from Belleville, Barbara Richter from Toronto, and Pat St. Laurent from Peterborough became the latest ETFO honourary life members.

Honourary Life Memberships, granted to individuals who have retired from the education profession, are the federation's highest form of recognition.

Ruth Behnke had a lengthy career in teaching and in the union. As a teacher in a rural area, she became involved in the Agriculture in the Classroom program run by the Ministry of Agriculture. She was the president of the Lambton Kent ETFO Teacher Local and a provincial Executive member of ETFO. "Ruth is the personification of the Honourary Life Member," said Emily Noble, president of ETFO, in presenting the award. "She is a passionate teacher, a strong unionist, and a good friend to many in ETFO."

Dave Patterson has spent more than thirty-five years as a teacher and a unionist. He was president of the Hastings-Prince Edward ETFO Teacher Local and a member of the ETFO provincial Executive. In 2002, Patterson won the ETFO Humanitarian award for his work on Operation World Teacher with CODE. "Dave is well known for his humility," said Noble. "He is always quick to credit his members and his colleagues for his accomplishments."

Barbara Richter retires this year after a thirty-six year career with ETFO and with the Federation of Women Teachers' Associations of Ontario (FWTAO), one of ETFO's predecessor organizations. She spent twenty-eight years in bargaining and was a key staff person in the 1987 Metro Toronto teachers' strike over preparation time. She is the federation's acknowledged expert on education finance and has made outstanding contributions to the federation's member and leadership training programs. "Barbara has been a brilliant example of how staff members can shape the union," said Noble.

Pat St. Laurent is leaving teaching after thirty-five years, years spent in the classroom and in the federation. St. Laurent has been a local negotiator, a local president, and a provincial board member of FWTAO. "Pat has always had a strong vision for education and the fair and equitable environment in which teachers should teach and students should learn," said Noble.

In accepting the awards on behalf of all four recipients St. Laurent said "although we may have had an impact on ETFO and on teachers, we know that the impact that teachers and the federation have had on us has been far more significant."

The 2006 ETFO Annual Meeting concludes today at the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel in Toronto.

The Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario represents 70,000 public elementary teachers and education workers across Ontario and is the largest teacher federation in Canada.
/For further information: Mary Morison: 416-962-3836 Ext. 2337; 416-948-3406 (cell); mmorison@etfo.org

Media Room Westin Harbour Castle: 416-957-7181

Contact Information

  • Johanna Brand, ETFO Communications
    Primary Phone: 416-962-3836 ext. 2339
    Secondary Phone: 416-948-2554
    Toll-Free: 888-838-3836
    E-mail: jbrand@etfo.org