Clearview Public SchoolsClearview Public Schools

Clearview celebrates the recipient for the 2020 Award of Merit

Clearview Public Schools is pleased to announce that Judith Birdsell, PhD has been selected as the 2020 recipient of the Clearview Award of Merit

The Clearview Award of Merit is offered to present or former students/employees of the school division who have achieved excellence in a particular field, for which they are recognized provincially, nationally or internationally. It is hoped that, by recognizing such excellence, it will act as an inspiration to present and future generations of our students.

The award presentation is usually made a part of the school division’s annual Recognition Night in Stettler in June.  Due to the COVI-19 pandemic, the Board of Trustees has postponed the 2020 Clearview Recognition Night.  The award will be sent to Dr. Birdsell and her picture and biography will be framed and displayed in Wm. E. Hay Stettler Secondary School.

Dr. Birdsell,on behalf of the Clearview Board of Trustees, I am proud to extend our congratulations to you for an outstanding career in supporting the health and wellness of Albertans and Canadians both locally and internationally. You have done yourself, our school system and the Stettler community proud . Our best to you now and with your ongoing and future endeavors. Thank you from Clearview Public Schools and the Stettler community.” 

- Greg Hayden, Chair, Clearview Board of Trustees

Judith Birdsell grew up on her grandfather's homestead southwest of Stettler. She attended Waverly School until grade nine and Wm. E. Hay Composite High School for grades 10-12, graduating in 1968. Her roots are still very much in Stettler and are constantly reinforced by visiting her sister who still lives in the area, and by her reconnections with high school friends since retiring (and entering the quilting world). Judy's husband, Terry Brooker, and she have two grown children and they and their children still consider a trip to Stettler as special.

Judy's career began with nursing positions in aboriginal settings in Alberta and Northwest Territories and ended with fifteen years of consulting across Canada on organizing and policy in health care, health care research and the voluntary sector.  In between, her professional life involved earning a Master's degree in Health Care Research (1987) which led to several years working in cancer epidemiology and prevention. 

An interest in inter-organizational relationships led to a PhD in Organizational Analysis (1997) in which her research included a key focus on the role of patients and family in policy making in breast cancer research.  

In volunteer roles, she has held over 20 leadership positions in health and research organizations including chairing the boards of several national health or health research related organizations (including the Canadian Cancer Society, Canadian Breast Cancer Research Initiative, Stem Cell Network). At the provincial level, her community service included nine years (three as chair) on the board of a large foundation providing affordable housing for seniors in Calgary.  She has received three national awards that recognize her achievements in the voluntary sector.  One of these awards was an Honorary Life Membership in the Canadian Cancer Society granted in 2000.

Most importantly, Judy's efforts for the past ten years have been shaped by her defining experience as a family caregiver. This led to roles as board member of the Health Quality Council of Alberta, active involvement as a member of Patients for Patient Safety Canada, and is one of the founders and now chair of the Board of IMAGINE Citizens Collaborating for Health, a society created by a group of citizens who are working to support Albertans to take a more active role in shaping the future of healthcare in the province. 

“I am very honored to be recognized by Clearview Public Schools. The memories and friends made during my time as a student at Waverly and then Wm. E. Hay Composite have been a very special part of my life and still are!  In my current volunteer role in supporting citizen engagement in shaping the future of health care, it is so important that I still have very strong connections to non-urban Alberta. I am so sorry that due to the pandemic it was not possible to attend a dinner to accept and say thank you in person for this award. On the other hand, the pandemic has reinforced how very important the work for which I have been recognized truly is. I sincerely appreciate that the Board feels this work is worthy of recognition.”

- Judith Birdsell 

Congratulations to Clearview’s 2020 Award of Merit recipient!