In her Endnote column of the upcoming Theme issue of Education Canada, Penny Milton notes that preparation for retirement as CEO of the Canadian Education Association is a prime time for reflection. Her approaching retirement is giving me cause to reflect as well – on more than two decades of shared interests, intersecting commitments, and friendship.
I’ve had the good fortune to work with Penny in several capacities since the early 1990s, most recently as editor of this magazine for the past ten years. In every situation, I have been in awe of her ability to size up and analyze the ideas or issues before her. But a sharp mind is only as valuable as the tasks it sets for itself. Penny’s passion for young people has been the hallmark of her career. She has been unflagging in her dedication to public education – not as a system, but as a vehicle for reaching, teaching, and understanding Canada’s young people, and as our best hope for a more equitable, compassionate society.
Penny’s creative, flexible, non-dogmatic approach has brought together educators and thinkers from across the political and ideological spectrum – both in Canada and abroad. Her boundless confidence in young people themselves has empowered them to share their own truths about schools and learning in many contexts, including in the pages of this magazine.
All this is true, and others will repeat it in other words. But as Penny prepares to leave her role as CEO of CEA and as Executive Editor of Education Canada, I am most conscious of the personal support she has provided to me, as editor. I will miss her forthright advice, her vast network of contacts, her keen eye for the relevant, her willingness to brainstorm at the drop of a hat. I will even miss that feeling – at the end of a conversation – that I really couldn’t process ideas a fast as she could generate them!
I’m sure I speak for all of us involved in the production of this magazine when I say thank you and bonne chance, Penny. Stay in touch with us.