Angela Pind, acting dean for the Haliburton School of Art and Design (HSAD), has won one of Fleming College’s new spotlight awards for promoting a “positive, equitable and supportive workplace culture.”

“I was super shocked,” Pind, who assumed the position last fall, said.

Five staff members are being celebrated for positive contributions to the school’s learning environment.

Pind started her position just as HSAD was entering one of its most precarous school years to date.

“The challenge is the uncertainty,” Pind said, explaining how COVID-19 influenced the faculty’s operations. “We always know and have a clear focus on the students and achieving the goals they have.”

Pind was quick to mention that her team of administrative and teaching staff are key to the school’s success.

“The people that I work with at Fleming, are just the hardest working people focused on our students,” she said.

Shelley Schell, the Haliburton campus operation manager, nominated Pind. She also predicted Pind would be quick to deflect the praise to her educational team members.

“That’s just the type of person she is,” Schell said. “[Pind] is absolutely inspiring in her abilities, in her commitment: she is so deserving of this award.”

Schell said there has been countless moments when Pind’s leadership has made a difference in the lives of her and her colleagues. “She supports everyone, and cares about everyone. She is so selfless in her approach.”

Helping guide the school through the pandemic required, in Schell’s words, Pind’s “extraordinary ability to grasp the big picture.” That involved implementing new safety protocols, helping faculty transition courses to virtual environments and more.

While she splits her time between Peterborough and Haliburton, Pind said she’s appreciated seeing how well staff integrate into the community.

“I think that what I observe in each of the staff there, is that they are Fleming employees: they are Haliburton [County] community members.”

Pind said that an especially gratifying part of the job in Haliburton County is also seeing her students become communityminded while they learn techniques of art and design.

“They’re learning that in the context of being a member of the community,” Pind said.

Pind herself has engaged with the community’s concerns: from gas station conversations about COVID-19 concerns to discussing community events at staff meetings.

Throughout the year, Pind said she developed ways to support staff and students with the waves of emotion surrounding COVID-19.

“It’s acknowledging that anxiety,” Pind said. She said that open communication – and lots of it – is her preferred method of leadership. “I think having an open door lets people bring in whatever they need to talk about.”

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