Jamaican-Canadian Lauded as International Education Pioneer in New Biography

Avis Glaze, one of the top educators in Canada, is the subject of a new autobiography, “Avis Glaze: The Children Cannot Wait” by Roderick Benns, chronicles Glaze’s life and achievements. Benns worked for Glaze as her senior writer at the time she left Peterborough to serve as Chief Student Achievement Officer of Ontario. Jamaican-Canadian, Glaze, a pioneer in character education in Canada implemented a number of innovations and is especially known for work on equity and leadership in education.

As a young girl in Jamaica, Glaze was driven to teach others how to read. She exhibited the same drive in adulthood as she rose rapidly through the levels of the school system to become Canada’s first Chief Student Achievement Officer. She has consistently held the position that no children should be “throw-away kids.”

An excerpt from the book describes one of Avis’s first actions when she took her leadership post: she eliminated all the preferential parking spaces for the director and superintendents in order to signal that equity would be the order of the day from then on. Diane Lloyd. chair of the school board of trustees when Avis was director, said, “Avis was — and is — a champion for all that we treasure about public education.” Lloyd went on to note Glaze’s strong belief that public education is the great equalizer in a community.

Among the topics covered in the biography, Benns includes continuous improvement in student achievement and wellbeing, leadership development, equity, social justice and inclusive education, character building, career education, and the innovations spearheaded by Glaze.

Benns hopes his book will encourage reflection and stimulate thinking about these issues, as well as reaffirm current efforts being made to address them. The book is also meant to inspire additional actions in the future.

Photo: Susan Benoit from the cover of the book “Avis Glaze: The Children Cannot Wait”