Source: Post Primary Teachers Association (PPTA)
Celebrating Sharon King, the 2018 recipient of the Guy Allan award for branch activism.
A member described as “second to none” when it comes to fairness and equity was presented with the Guy Allan award for branch activism early this year.
A full branch gathered at Howick College to see the efforts of the chair Sharon King recognised.
“In this position Sharon is well respected by all staff. Her compassion and trust is reinforced through her empathic approach. She has built a strong branch, not only taking the role as chair, but also mentoring and supporting younger staff to take responsibility for varying roles within the branch and wider East Auckland area,” branch member Julia Breen said when nominating her for the award.
Calm, collected and unflappable
Sharon meets regularly with the school’s principal and has a strong, professional and respectful relationship with the senior management team and was constantly sought out for her fair, diplomatic and honest interpretation of the collective. When she was unsure of anything she was willing to seek advice from the field office and was respected for her open, honest and supportive nature, Julia said.
“Where others might find situations stressful, Sharon is always calm, collected and unflappable. She is second to none when it comes to fairness and equity, which I believe drives her in her exceptional role as our branch chair. She is effective in hearing all voices within a meeting and is instrumental in building confidence so that all members can raise issues and concerns.”
A member who tirelessly stuck up for her colleagues
Having known and dealt with the late Guy Allan in the past, Julia felt Sharon was well deserving of the award in his name. “I can think of no other person who embodies his style, values and manner more than Sharon,” she said.
Relieving field officer Helen Pearce, who was branch chair a Birkdale College (now Birkenhead College) while Guy Allan was chair at Glenfield College gave a background to the award. She noted it was designed to recognise activists who did not seek regional or national profile, but focussed their work on those closest to them. Helen noted the job of branch chair was often unrewarding yet so important in seeing the hard won rights of members upheld. She went on to say she could think of no one more deserving for the award than Sharon, a member who had tirelessly stuck up for her colleagues since taking on the role as chair at Howick College.
An ability to recognise the importance of relationships
PPTA general Secretary Michael Stevenson said two things stood out for him – Sharon’s ability to recognise the importance of building and maintaining relationships in the role, often under difficult circumstances, and the fact that she did not view her role in the branch as static, instead nurturing other activists into roles.
He said there were parallels between the way Sharon carried out the role of branch chair and the late Gay Simpkin’s research into the role of the PPTA branch.