The Justice James D. Higgins Award is presented annually by CCSTA in recognition of exceptional service to Catholic education in Canada. CCSTA is pleased to announce that the 2007 recipient of the prestigious Higgins Award is Louise Ervin of Waterloo, Ontario.
Louise has been an active leader in Catholic education at the board, provincial and national levels for more than twenty years. She has been a trustee with the Waterloo Catholic District School Board since 1985, serving as board chair in 1991, 1992 and 2004. For the past seventeen years Louise has been a Director of the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association, serving as President from 2000-2004. From 1996-2006, Louise served as a member of the Board of Directors for the Canadian Catholic School Trustees’ Association and was the CCSTA President from 2000-2002. From 2000-2004, Louise was a Director on the Ontario Institute for Catholic Education, holding the position of president in 2002.
Louise has served on the board of Curriculum Services Canada, the Catholic Education Foundation of Ontario and has represented her community on the Region of Waterloo Community Safety and Crime Prevention Council and the Kinette Club of Kitchener Waterloo. Among other community and provincial associations, Louise has been a director of the Ontario Federation of School Athletics Association, a director of Huron Natural Area Board, a member of St. Jerome’s University “Building Together for the Future” Committee, an advisor to the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber of Commerce Education Committee. In 1984 and 2003, Louise was nominated for the Waterloo Woman-of-the-Year Award – Community Service category.
As President of CCSTA, Louise was active in developing By-laws for the Association. She advocated the move of CCSTA to Ottawa in order for the Association to be closer to our natural partners including the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops and the federal government. During her term as president, Build Bethlehem Everywhere – A Statement on Catholic Education, was published. During her time as a member of the CCSTA Education, News and Information committee, The Special Vocation of Teachers in Catholic Schools was completed.
Louise represented CCSTA nationally and internationally, at the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) of the United States, at the Inter-American Congress of Catholic Education (CIEC), at the Diocese of Los Angeles Religious Education Congress and at the Commonwealth Ministers of Education Conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Louise initiated talks to encourage l’Association Franco-Ontarienne des conseils scolaires catholiques (AFOCSC) to join CCSTA. In 2006, Louise and colleagues at OCSTA organized a fund-raising activity at the annual conference to raise over $5,000 for the Catholic schools in Newfoundland/Labrador. That tradition continued in 2007, again with over $5000 raised. She has been a strong supporter of the Endowment Fund and the Toonies for Tuition campaign of CCSTA.
Louise is a graduate of the University of Ottawa and was an instructor for the Head Start Program in Ottawa. She has worked as a social worker at the Ottawa Welfare Department and at the Winnipeg General Hospital.
Louise is a member of Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Waterloo. She and her husband, Bob, have two daughters, Kimberly (married to Paul Mendonca) and Natasha, and are the proud grandparents of Chloe, Olivia and Jack. She is appreciative of the constant support that she has received from her family over the years.
“I have always considered working in Catholic education for Ontario and for Canada a privilege and a special calling,” Louise states. “It is the way I choose to serve my Church, the way I choose to ‘build Bethlehem everywhere’. Along with my family, I wish to thank all associated with the Waterloo Catholic District School Board for their continuous support. To receive the Justice Higgins Award, which has been presented to such great leaders in Canadian Catholic education, is truly humbling. To say that I am honoured to be the 2007 recipient is an understatement. Thank you.”
Louise has been an inspirational leader in Catholic education. Her energy, commitment and generous contribution of her time to the cause of Catholic education is a model of service for people everywhere. Her thoughtful, deliberate approach to educational issues enables her to successfully meet each and every challenge. She has always put students first and has made a positive difference in the lives of thousands of students and others.
CCSTA is pleased to honour Louise Ervin with the 2007 Justice James Higgins Award.