Kerry McManus: Biography
Background and Education
Kerry McManus was born and raised in Stratford where she attended Northwestern Secondary School. Her post-secondary education includes a B.A.degree in French and Math from the University of Guelph; a B.Ed. Degree from University of Western, Ontario and a M.Ed. from York University.
After completing her teaching degree, Kerry lived in Montreal for almost five years where she taught high school and worked with several not-for-profit organizations. Kerry returned to Ontario in 1997 to teach at Listowel District Secondary School. In 1998, Kerry moved back to her hometown to teach at Stratford Central Secondary School where she currently teaches French, Math and is one of the teacher-librarians at the school.
Kerry was elected in 2010 to Stratford City Council. She served as Chair of Public Works, Energy & Environment and the Active Transportation Advisory Committee. She was Vice-Chair of Social Services and Festival Hydro Services Inc. She was a member of the Finance Sub-Committee and Gallery Stratford.
Outside of the classroom, Kerry is active in the community, focusing her energy on social justice and environmental issues. Kerry has supported community initiatives as well as taken on a leadership role in co-ordinating events and projects. Known for her ability to enlist the help of others, Kerry is often called upon to contribute to community projects including:
Local Food Drives;
Kiwanis Christmas Basket Drives;
Dragon Boat Festivals; and
In addition Kerry has co-ordinated a number of community events including:
Fastbreak - a fundraiser for children in Kenya;
The Stratford Social Justice Fair;
Hand 2 Hand; and
Not-so-Scroogy Christmas Parties.
The Environment, C.A.R.E. Stratford & Social Justice
Kerry McManus is the co-founder and chair of C.A.R.E. Stratford, Common Action for the Restoration of the Environment Stratford, a grassroots community organization dedicated to restoring the local environment by thinking globally and acting locally. Created in 2003 in conjunction with Stratford Central Secondary School's Environment Club and alumni, C.A.R.E. Stratford has provided the city of Stratford with a volunteer group dedicated to environmental awareness and action. The open exchange of ideas has been an integral element in C.A.R.E. Stratford's events and remains a key objective for the organization. Kerry has successfully united environmental groups, community organizations, and businesses to facilitate a variety of initiatives, with a focus on environmental preservation and restoration.
For many years on Earth Day, C.A.R.E. organized an “Earth Day Work Day” for the community where members are invited to give their time to a variety of environmental projects. Some events have included:
Avon River Clean-Up;
Meadowrue Corner Clean-up;
Waldie Drain Clean-up;
Swan Food packaging; and
As staff advisor at Central, Kerry finds a variety of ways for her students to give back to the community while addressing environmental and social justice issues. Since 1999, Kerry has taken groups of students to visit:
The Daily Bread Food Bank;
Scott St. Mission; and
Yonge St. Mission in Toronto.
Kerry has also involved the Environment Club in Stratford’s community events. The students have partnered with Upper Thames River Conservation Authority to plant trees in and around Perth County. In conjunction with a food drive, Compact Fluorescents were distributed with information regarding proper disposal to each household in Stratford in conjunction with “Project Porchlight.”
Kerry co-facilitated a series of five Conservation Fairs in the Avon Maitland District School Board. Kerry was able to bring students, teachers, and exhibitors together to address conservation issues and share initiatives and possibilities for change. Students from host schools took part in workshops and created displays and presentations looking at conservation and energy issues and the individual’s impact on these global concerns.
Kerry has been instrumental in organizing and co-ordinating educational opportunities for the community, featuring plenary sessions, workshops, and exhibitors. Beyond providing a forum for education, Kerry works to design programs to facilitate discussion among environmental groups and familiarize the community with the work of local organizations. Over the years, Kerry has secured an impressive list of experts and keynote speakers, including Dr. Roberta Bondar, Maude Barlow, Severn Cullis-Suzuki, Michelle Kanter, and Anita Stewart. Local environmental activists have included Eric Eberhardt, Dr. Serge Lappano and Craig Merkley. In 2008, Kerry organized the “Enough Already!” Earth Day with Stephen Lewis in order to understand and explore the connections between environment, poverty, and health.
Kerry was a finalist for Earth Day Canada's Hometown Heroes Award in 2008 for her leadership of C.A.R.E. Stratford.
Kerry received the Excellence in Education Award in 2007 and the Key Contributions Award in 2008 from the Avon Maitland District School Board.
In 2010, Kerry was recognized by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) for her work in community initiatives.
Although Kerry wears many hats, her key role in C.A.R.E. Stratford has helped inspire change in Stratford and area. Her dedication to long-term community awareness and actions is demonstrated by her commitment and leadership of numerous environmental initiatives.