Black Gold School Division (BGSD) is pleased to congratulate former Superintendent of Schools Dr. Norman Yanitski on receiving an honorary membership from the Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA) – its highest honour – on May 12, 2021.
Dr. Yanitski’s education career spanned almost four decades, and included 13 years as BGSD superintendent. Along the way he received the Inspiring Success Award of Distinction from the Board of Trustees, and was named one of the top 50 not-for-profit CEOs in Alberta by Alberta Venture Magazine.
“It was a privilege to serve on the Board of Trustees with Dr. Yanitski,” said Trustee Barb Martinson. “Norm’s passion for education and wanting the best for students, and his ability to create great relationships with staff, trustees, and our community partners was quite extraordinary.”
“At the end of Dr. Yanitski’s tenure as superintendent in 2018-2019, as he was called up to be recognized and presented with his retirement gift, the entire staff assembly stood to honour him with a sustained ovation,” said Superintendent of Schools Bill Romanchuk. “Norman was unquestionably the heart and soul of our organization for many years. Staff appreciated him because he always had our best interests at heart, and I am very pleased to see his many contributions to the teaching profession being recognized and honoured by the ATA.”
“I had the pleasure of working with Dr. Yanitski for 18 years, and I hold him in very high esteem due to his integrity, approachable demeanour, and ability to keep every situation positive,” said Norm Dargis, Associate Superintendent- Learning Services. “I cannot remember a day where he was not infectiously optimistic and took a genuine interest in the people he worked with, and the work they did for students. He has been and continues to be a good friend.”
“Dr. Yanitski was a teacher through and through, and even while at the Division Office, he made sure to find opportunities to be out in the schools, chatting with students and visiting with staff,” said Calvin Monty, Associate Superintendent – Human Resources. “Norm initiated school visits where he and the Board spent partial days out in each of our schools, spending time in classrooms reading with children and honouring teachers and support staff. Dr. Yanitski’s strength is his relationship building skills, and he never once forgot what it was like to be a classroom teacher.”
“Dr. Yanitski was always smiling and excited about what was happening in our schools,” said Chelsey Volkman, Associate Superintendent – Business and Finance. “In everything he did it was always clear how much he loved his job. He made everyone in the organization feel valued and proud to be part of the ‘Dream Division’.”
The ATA’s honorary membership is presented annually to individuals who have exhibited an exceptional commitment to public education in Alberta. Its list of recipients includes former lieutenant-governor Lois Hole, former premier Peter Lougheed, and former University of Alberta president Myer Horowitz.