Walking the walk: Dr. Glyn George is passionate about giving back to his community
Dr. Glyn George is the type of person you want on your team. He is dedicated, capable and passionate and when it comes to students and their education – he not only talks the talk, but walks the walk.
For 26 years, Dr. George volunteered on school councils at Booth Memorial High School, until this past June when Booth Memorial closed. Dr. George served eight years as an elected member and secretary of the Avalon Consolidated and Avalon East school boards during the 1990s, followed by 15 years on the school council of Booth Memorial High School. Students from Booth Memorial and Bishop’s College now go to a new school, Waterford Valley High and at that school council’s first meeting, Dr. George was appointed as the inaugural community representative and was elected unanimously as secretary.
“When I was teaching at a college in England, I wanted to get a better appreciation of where my students were coming from, so I volunteered on two school governing bodies in the London Borough of Sutton,” he said. “I found it to be very helpful so when I arrived in St. John’s, I wanted to do the same. Booth Memorial High School was literally 100 yards from my home. It was the obvious choice.”
Dr. George arrived in St. John’s in 1988 to teach in the engineering faculty at Memorial University. He planned to stay for only two to four years but fell in love with the city and his new job and the rest is history.
Almost as soon as he was recruited as community representative, Dr. George was asked to be vice-chair as well and in 1999 he became chair.
“I was the millennial chair,” he said proudly, “even for the purists like me, who believe the new millennium began in 2001.” “I was chair from 1999-2001. I stepped down because of my sabbatical leave, and was recruited back again in 2003. I outlasted six of my seven successors as chair.”
For Dr. George, there have been several highlights over the years.
“For the past 30 years, there was a persistent rumour that Booth Memorial would close the next year,” he said. “One moment in the early 2000s, when it seemed as though that might actually happen, I was part of an ultimate strategy that realigned the feeder system – where junior high students were allocated into the high school system – that kept Booth open for a few more years.”
But, according to Dr. George, the biggest highlight was preparing for Waterford Valley High School.
“We were talking about that move for about three years,” he said. “Both Booth and Bishops were fully onside with moving to the new school. I was recruited to the joint advisory committee, which selected half of each school council to serve as an advisory body to the school board on how to manage the transition from two schools to the new one,” he said.
While he serves on one school council, his role enables him to have an impact on the provincial level, through service as the elected secretary of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of School Councils (NLFSC) from 1999 to 2002 and participation in several annual meetings since then. His contributions were recognized by conferral of life membership of the NLFSC in 2005, only the fifth such award to that date.
“Dr. George has provided exceptional contributions to high school education in our community,” said Dr. Greg Naterer, dean of engineering and applied science. “In 2013, he received the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Academic Service, in recognition of his service with distinction to the faculty and university, along with his community service on high school councils. We are indeed grateful for his tireless dedication to the success of students in our province.”
While passionate about his teaching, Dr. George also finds his volunteer work to be very fulfilling. He took his roles on the school boards, Booth Memorial’s school council and the NLFSC very seriously.
When asked if he will sit on the Waterford Valley High School council for 15 years, Dr. George says only time will tell. For right now, he has committed to serving through the first year of the new council’s existence.
“I encourage everyone, parent or not, to become involved in the education of the next generation.”