Renfrew Education Services
May 16, 2019
Janice McTighe
Renfrew Education Services

Janice McTighe
Beginning with a single community kindergarten classroom that included one child with a disability, Renfrew Educational Services has blossomed into a leading-edge organization with five schools in vibrant, modern facilities in Calgary.

Inspired by this one child with a disability, Janice McTighe had a dream and a vision – a dream of building innovative educational facilities where children with special needs could have all the support they need to develop to their full potential, and a vision of a world of possibilities for every child. Janice has centered her life’s work on her conviction that “Every child is reachable, and no child should live without hope and dignity.”

Renfrew’s programs and services are founded on Janice’s beliefs that all children deserve access to an educational program that addresses their areas for growth, and that learning can be maximized in an inclusive environment where typical and exceptional children learn side-by-side. The importance of the family in each child’s growth is recognized, and staff work with families to identify a child’s strengths and areas for growth so that each program can be individually tailored accordingly.

In the early years, the program was managed with amazing parent participation and commitment, and built the program step-by-step. Janice speaks appreciatively of all the assistance that Renfrew has received over the past 42 years, from the early days of parent advisory committees and parent Board members to community support. “Without this we would not have been able to carry on this work that is so important for children and families.”

This extraordinary woman has been the guide and inspiration for everyone fortunate enough to be associated with Renfrew, has been recognized for her leadership. She has received the Premier’s Award for Outstanding Service to Alberta Families (1994), a Lifetime Achievement – Woman of Distinction Award (2001), the 2008 Calgary Community Achievement Award in Education, and the Alberta Order of Excellence in 2010. In 2013 Janice received the Intercultural Dialogue Institute (IDI) Calgary, and Community Service Award, and in 2014 was given the Calgary Stampede’s Western Legacy – Innovator Award.

For her part, Janice feels fortunate to have fulfilled her life’s purpose. She is proud of what has been accomplished with the help of wonderful staff, community support, mentors and Renfrew’s Board of Directors. She has met “…wonderful families and beautiful children, and to see those children everyday – what could be better?”

Janice’s accomplishments to date offer a powerful and inspiring example of all that can be achieved when caring and compassion for others are combined with energy, enthusiasm and a strong drive to make it better for all children.