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NESD director of education leads in a way that fits who she is

For International Women's Day, Stacy Lair, the Director of Education for the North East School Division, talks about how she worked her way up to her leadership role.
Stacy Lair, centre, worked her way up from a teacher to the Director of Education for the North East School Division. Here she poses with her children.

MELFORT — Stacy Lair started teaching in 2003 after completing her education degree in Industrial Arts at the University of Saskatchewan. Today, she is the Director of Education for the North East School Division.

Lair has worked for three school divisions and said she had been privileged to lead as a vice principal, a principal, a superintendent before becoming the person in charge of the NESD.

She is not the only female Director of Education in the province. Women are gaining in more leadership roles within the education sector. The trend in leadership positions is increasing and would likely be more representation of women.

Her career after university in rural Saskatchewan gave her the opportunity to teach a wide variety of subjects including construction, welding and drafting. Initially, Lair said she was drawn to project-based learning.  She grew up on a farm, always wanting to “help” her dad, Ron with many of the daily tasks. She suspects those childhood experiences pointed her towards the practical nature of traditional industrial arts education.

Early in her career, she was fortunate to have a teacher-librarian friend and mentor share her interest and passion for literacy and citizenship instruction. That shared passion evolved into the desire to be an instructional leader beyond her classroom.  

Lair often feels grateful to have grown up around her grandmothers who demonstrated and expected what may be easiest described as prairie grit, she said. Her mother Inez balanced work, farm life and her family, all while taking care of her father. Lair strives to be a contributor in the lives of others and has always been a particularly passionate about education

When asked about women in leadership roles, she said it’s important to be true to yourself, to lead in a way that fits with who you are, not how you think others want you to be. 

“Sometime the moulds left by past leaders are not a good fit for future leaders."

When asked what she wishes she knew earlier in life, it was that it’s okay to slow down and savour the day. She feels she is still learning this and some days wishes she could have a few of her days back.    

Lair said she is proud of the leadership, guidance and mentorship that surrounds her in the NESD.  She believes she is surrounded by strong, educational and community leaders.  In the Northeast the majority or our superintendents, learning co-ordinators, consultants and school administrators are females.

“I appreciate the generosity as they share their experience and guidance with me.”

She also mentioned Sharon Meyer, the NESD First Nation and Métis consultant who may be the most generous.

“I have learned from her thoughtful guidance and been amazed with her attitude and perseverance,” she said.