Drive, determination and ‘a heart of gold’

Prince Albert Council of Women Hall of Fame inductee Shelley Storey speaks during Sunday’s induction ceremony. -- Jason Kerr/Daily Herald

It took a few read-throughs before Shelley Storey fully realized she was being inducted into the Prince Albert Council of Women Hall of Fame.

As an education expert, and former Prince Albert principal and vice-principal, Storey was used to looking over letters, papers, reports and drafts. However, this email required multiple rereads, and even a few phone calls, before reality finally sunk in.

“I read it once, and I read it again and I read it again: you’ve been inducted into the Prince Albert Council of Women Hall of Fame and there’s a press conference at 11 a.m.,” Storey remembered.

“I had the week off before and I made a mistake. I ignored a call from Rose (council of women member Rose Rothenburger). I thought, ‘oh, I haven’t renewed something. I need to go back and renew that,’ so I just ignored (the call) and this is what I learned: when the P.A. Council of Women phones you, don’t ignore the call.”

While the induction was a bit unexpected for Storey, her friends, family and former colleagues say it was long overdue.

Storey’s nominator, Karen Anthony-Burns, first met the Hall of Fame’s newest inductee at Princess Margaret Public School in the mid-‘90s. Storey was the school’s vice-principal, and Anthony-Burns’ children were among the students.

Anthony-Burns said it was obvious from the start that Storey was welcoming, caring and always ready to talk to parents, students and colleagues. Storey was also eager to find ways to help them achieve their academic goals. In some cases that meant applying for grant funding to start a daycare in Wesmor High School, or organizing transportation to make it easier for teen parents to get to class.

“Shelley has always acted as a mentor who brings out the best in those around her, whether that be as an educator, a co-worker or a friend,” Anthony-Burns said during Sunday’s ceremony. “She is very inspiring, compassionate, loyal, and has vast knowledge politically, in education, in leadership roles, and on boards and committees…. Shelley truly has a heart of gold.”

“If any child, youth or adult comes in contact with Shelley, the come away changed for the better,” added Steven Humble, Storey’s husband.

Storey gives credit to her parents for showing her the importance of education. Tough economic times meant her father wasn’t able to get his Grade 12 until age 21. He then went on to earn a BA in Education, and taught school during the depression for IOUs, later becoming a school superintendent. Her mother also earned a BA in Education, along with a Certificate in Special Education.

They also proved great role models in the political field. Her mother was an early female political candidate at a time when there weren’t many, running for the NDP nomination in Swift Current. Storey’s father was heavily involved in union politics, although ironically as a Liberal. Storey said it was an “interesting marriage,” but also a successful one based on equal partnership and mutual respect.

“Parents are powerful role models,” Storey explained. “Children don’t miss anything, (and) I had two powerful role models.”

After teaching at Princess Margaret and Vincent Massey schools, Storey returned to the post-secondary world to earn her PhD, with a specialization in elementary and secondary educational administration. She then returned to Prince Albert and resumed her role as a teacher, this time at Wesmor Public High School. Although she no longer teachers at Wesmor, education is still her number one passion.

“All children have the right to an education,” she said. “I hope in my lifetime, any young person capable of post-secondary education can receive one without going into debt to try to get one.”

Her list of volunteer activities is extensive. Storey helped found the Youth Outreach Network and the Prince Albert and Area Community Alcohol Strategy Steering Committee. She served as a member on numerous boards and committees, starting with the Young New Democrats at the age of 14-years-old. As an adult, she served on the Prince Albert Exhibition Agricultural Committee, the Early Childhood Education Council, and as a councillor with the Prince Albert and Area Teachers’ Federation, among many others.

Those efforts have taken a lot of work, and a lot of time, but friends like Anthony-Burns say Storey wouldn’t have it any other way.

“Shelly doesn’t volunteer to seek recognition or to seek promotion,” Anthony-Burns explained. “It’s for the betterment of the community.”