Just a few months after she stepped down as the long-serving Director of Education at the Upper Grand District School Board, news broke on Monday that Martha Rogers had passed away. Rogers had a career that spanned nearly 50 years, starting as a teacher in Peel region in 1972, and finishing her career with an impressive quarter-century hitch in the highest administrative position in local separate school board.
“If you had the privilege of meeting, working alongside, and knowing Dr. Martha Rogers during her almost 50 years in public education, or her lifelong community volunteer efforts, you would know that each and every day she was driven by a love for all children,” said UGDSB chair Linda Busuttil in a statement.
“Martha devoted her life to public education and public service. You would see this in big and small ways every day, from her provincial meetings with our education stakeholders, local community partners, to the time she would take for classroom story time reading to students,” Busuttil added. “Everyone had value in Martha’s eyes and ways and she had a unique way of weaving it all together for the benefit of our students, staff and communities.”
Rogers career in education began in the classroom in 1972. Within 10 years, she had become both a primary teacher and a Curriculum Consultant with the Dufferin County Board of Education, while at the same time serving as a part-time lecturer at the University of Toronto’s faculty of education.
She made the move to Wellington County in 1987 where she became first female Superintendent of Special Services with the Wellington County Board of Education. She continued to climb the ladder and became the first female Director of Education in 1995, a position she held on to when the Wellington and Dufferin Boards of Education merged in 1999.
“Dr. Rogers will be forever remembered for how she ran the Upper Grand DSB for over 26 years as Director. We are all thinking of her many family members and friends who will be feeling this loss so deeply. We know her legacy will continue to be felt for years to come across the UGDSB,” said Rogers’ successor Peter Sovran in a statement.
According to a media release from the board, Rogers passed away peacefully in her sleep at her Elora home on the weekend. Rogers was only able to enjoy three months of her post-work life as her last day as the Director of Education in the Upper Grand board was August 31 of this year; she had delayed her retirement a year to help the school board respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are all so very saddened to learn of this news today, especially coming so shortly after Martha’s retirement. Our entire system will be forever grateful for her contributions to our students, staff and school communities,” said Executive Superintendent of Education Brent McDonald.
Rogers is survived by her brother Thomas and his family, plus the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of her late husband Paul. She will also be missed by her two beloved cats named Jacqueline and Kyle. She will be interned at the Elora Municipal Cemetery on December 18 in a family service.
In lieu of flowers, Rogers’ family is asking people to donate to some her favourite causes including the Rotary Club of Guelph, Children & Youth Committee, Upper Grand Learning Foundation, and Elora House, a safe house for trafficked women .