Long-time school board chair Connie Denesiuk of Summerland won the Workplace – Community Contribution Award at the Women Front and Centre Dinner in Penticton on Saturday night.
It was the seventh annual dinner and dance sponsored by the South Okanagan Women in Need Society to raise funds and to honour women for their work in the community.
“It was pretty exciting,” said Denesiuk. “I was surprised. It’s exciting to hear your name called.”
Of her many accomplishments in community service, she says she is most proud of leading the school district through the process of amalgamation that resulted in Okanagan Skaha School District 67. Because of that process, “we have a cohesive education community.”
She was a school board member representing Summerland for 19 years. During that time she was instrumental in the amalgamation of Summerland and Penticton school districts, restructuring the Okanagan school system into a middle school model, building Summerland Middle School, reconstruction of Summerland Secondary science wing, reconstruction of entrance to Summerland Secondary School and reconstruction of Penticton Secondary School.
Denesiuk was raised in Penticton and continues to support the secondary school from which she graduated by serving on the planning committee for Penticton Secondary School’s 100th anniversary celebration this spring.
She and her husband Bob have been partners and owners of a local residential construction business since 1980 and have a family of four children who were born and raised in this area.
Her career of community service started with serving on the Parents Advisory Committees of her children’s schools.
In later years these paths lead her to be elected chair of the Okanagan Skaha Board of Education and president of the British Columbia School Trustees Association.
She is also a founding member of the Summerland Asset Development Initiative, and served for years on the Advisory Planning Commission for the District of Summerland.
She has worked on the Raise a Reader campaign and for the past five years has organized a Share the Spirit Christmas hamper through SOWINS.
She is again active as a director on the board of SADI in a restructuring process to encourage the community to build assets for youth development.
She is filling a temporary position with Summerland Chamber of Economic Development and Tourism until later this month, and is chair of the finance committee for a local church.
Denesiuk has also been doing consulting work on governance and structure with a school boards elsewhere in the province to help them make the most of their three year mandate.
She has put her name forward as a candidate for the board of directors of Summerland Credit Union, which will be elected this spring.
As for a future in politics, she said, “I am certainly keeping my options open if there are opportunities that arise in the future. I will be open to those if they are of interest to me.”
“I have spent my life in Penticton and Summerland. Sometimes we take it for granted, I see so many people around me being supportive and trying to make the community better.”