Few individuals have impacted the education of students, teachers and adults more than Sandra McCaig; speech clinician, educator, administrator and trailblazer, who facilitated changes in education and within her local community.
McCaig earned a Bachelor of Arts degree (University of Manitoba, 1964; Lady Stick of Arts) and a Master of Education in Speech Pathology (Pennsylvania State University, 1965).
McCaig took a position in the Winnipeg School Division as a speech clinician at the Child Guidance Clinic (1966) moving to area service director (1980). She retired in 2009 after a successful career in senior administration: deputy assistant superintendent-elementary schools (1989); deputy program superintendent (1990 - 93); director of student support services (1993 - 2009). Following retirement, McCaig co-managed Winnipeg School Division’s Life-Long Learning Program (2011 - 2013) delivering continuing education to adults within a community setting.
An advocate for inclusion, McCaig utilized her leadership and interpersonal skills to foster teamwork, promote people’s strengths and serve as a catalyst, bringing together individuals from various systems to develop innovative programs in the Winnipeg School Division, creating a culture where all students were welcome and could succeed, including those with significant medical conditions, autism, behaviour disorders, language disorders (Early Childhood Language Centre) and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (a first in Canada). McCaig received the Easter Seals award (2001) recognizing her work championing inclusive communities for children with disabilities.
McCaig with her team received several crime prevention awards for the CHOICES Youth Program for at- risk youth, an inter-sectoral project with the Winnipeg Police Service, Manitoba Justice and the community. She was recognized as an exemplary citizen for her contribution toward school safety.
McCaig joined the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba (1996) as a sessional instructor, further facilitating inclusive teaching strategies. She taught several courses and co-authored and introduced the on-line version of Introduction to Inclusive Special Education Practices. She served in executive positions on several professional organizations, published journal articles and educational materials for clinicians, teachers, parents and spoke on women’s issues and authenticity.
A local, national and international speaker and trainer, McCaig consulted and advised school districts and universities in Canada, the Caribbean (University of West Indies) and Japan and assisted in the development of distance education courses for the Organization for Cooperation in Overseas Development in St. Lucia.
Recognizing a need for adult education on life-related topics, McCaig was a founding member and chair (1974 - 1976) of the Fort Garry Family Life Resource Centre where she also taught parent-education classes.
Committed to community, McCaig volunteered with the United Way, Rainbow Society, Manitoba Athletes’ Assistance Advisory Council, Canadian Centre for Sport, World Boardsailing Organizing Committee, co-chaired Victoria Beach’s Walk for Water campaign (Lake Winnipeg Foundation) and was a contributing author to “Heroes in Our Midst,” a fundraiser for Olympic athletes. A spokesperson for the arts, McCaig is a board member of the Canadian Mountain Arts Foundation, writes fiction and is a storyteller.
McCaig‘s roots run deep through prairie pioneers. She is enriched through bonds of family, friends and community.