Nov. 14, 2011
Florence Meares, a former teacher, Vice-principal, and the first female Principal appointed in the former Burlington Board of Education, passed away last Thursday, November, 10, 2011.
She was 97.
Her career with the Board spanned an impressive 40 years, beginning in a one-room school in 1934. The trailblazing educator's commitment to education in Halton continued after retirement when she served a six-year term as a public school board trustee.
Meares was so respected in the community, a school was named after her, called Florence Meares Public School, located on Berwick Drive in Burlington. It opened in 2002. At the time the Board was deciding the name of the school, the Burlington Historical Society, the Nelson Women’s Institute and many individual ballots supported Meares’ nomination.
"The naming of a school after a person is a great honour," Ethel Gardiner, Chair of the Halton District School Board, said at the time. "We had a number of excellent individuals whose names were submitted for this honour, however, trustees felt that Florence Meares' life-long commitment to education in Halton was deserving at this time.”
Flags were lowered in honour of Meares' passing.
Meares is being remembered by the very school that bears her name as a loving influence on the many students who passed through the building’s hallways over the years. The school maintained close ties with Meares. She would visit the school regularly, sitting in on holiday performances, while the choir would visit her at Christopher Terrace every spring to perform something special.
“During her life, Florence made a lasting impact on public education in the Halton region,” said David Purcell, principal of Florence Meares Public School, stressing she had so much pride in the Burlington school. “At her school, we strive as students and staff to live up to the standard she set as an educator. The Florence Meares community has lost this wonderful person and educator, however her legacy lives on through all who graduate from the school that bears her name.”
Students say they are proud to attend a school named in her honour.
“I remember Miss Meares always being at our holiday performances or graduations sitting right in the middle of the first row, smiling, always ready and waiting to make a speech,” said Jordan.
Meares received numerous recognition over the years, including being named Burlington Citizen of the Year in 1988 and Ontario Retired Person of the Year in 2002.
Funeral service will be held today at St. Christopher’s Anglican Church starting 11 a.m.
To read a Burlington Post story about the school being named after Florence Meares on the school website, click here and click on the 'About Us' link on the left side of the page.