Wade Winner: Wade Peary

Congratulations to Wade Peary of Riverside College on being chosen as our first international Wade Award winner! Mr. Peary was nominated by coworker Janet Walczak for this award, which is bestowed on those professionals who are recognized by their peers for consistently showcasing the qualities of a Wade:

  • Exuding passion for what they do
  • Sharing and inspiring their passion in others
  • Making a positive difference every day

In the nomination, Ms. Walczak wrote:

“Wade takes his role beyond his official job description. Our trade school was on the verge of collapse when Wade was brought in as an administrator. In the time he has been here, he has worked tirelessly to promote the success of the students and the school. He encourages students to envision what they can achieve through career planning and effort.

Wade takes every opportunity to share his passion for the trades as a viable career, and our school as a starting point to achieve that career. He does this by encouraging staff to participate, and participates himself, in career and showcase events. He regularly presents opportunities for enhancing students’ experiences at our school, as evidenced by our school’s introduction to the Career Tree program. He daily supports and encourages learners, who have often previously been unmotivated, to envision a successful, achievable future for themselves. He does this by collecting and displaying alumni comments on our school website. The success of our school directly contributes to the success of our community, and Wade’s continuous passion and focus is the reason for that success.”

We interviewed Mr. Peary to learn more about his education philosophy and personal best practices. Here’s what he had to share:

Q: What made you choose education as your lifework?

A: As a young child, my two favorite subjects in school were recess and lunch. I strongly believe that this time started me down a path of finding a career that was social in nature. As I moved into high school, I started liking the variety of subjects that were being offered and the passionate teachers who taught these electives. A number of the teachers became mentors and role models for me. It was then that I decided that a career in education seemed like a great fit for me as it gave me a chance to work with people and help youth discover their fullest potential.

Q: What are some of the unique benefits of career-focused education?

A: A career-focused education allows students to gain valuable experience and knowledge during their formative years. This gives the students a competitive advantage when leaving high school and either entering the work force or pursuing further education.

Q: How do you help your students perform at their highest level?

A: The Employability Skills Profile and the Innovation Skills Profile 2.0 from the Conference Board of Canada form the backbone of what we do at Riverside College. The teaching staff branches out from the framework focusing on Willard Daggett’s 3 R’s of education: relationships, relevance and rigor. My staff works hard at building the relationship with their students from day one. The relevance comes easy, as we have a focused curriculum for the students. Increasing the rigor for the students becomes less of a challenge as the staff has built the trusting relationship with students and has given the program a focus.

Q: What is the most rewarding aspect of your work?

A: A wise man once told me that being an administrator is like being a conductor in an orchestra. The music does not come out of the baton. The music comes from the talented musicians that are playing the instruments. Building a team of like-minded staff and getting everyone to play the same tune is sometimes challenging, but when it happens, everything comes together. Working with a talented staff makes coming to work exciting and enjoyable. When people love what they do, it shows in the products they create. I am a very lucky man, as I get to shake each student’s hand at the commencement ceremony and know that they are leaving Riverside College with a skill set that will allow them to move forward with a career or further education.

Q: Are there any additional personal best practices or advice that you’d like to share with our readers?

A: Be passionate about what you do! This attitude will be contagious and you will find that you will soon be surrounded by people (students and staff) who share your passion.


We want to thank Mr. Peary for taking the time to share these helpful insights, and congratulate him once again on his award. Please feel free to share your congratulations in the comments as well!

Also, we welcome your nominations for those colleagues in your organization who are true Wades. Visit our nomination page to submit a candidate today. We look forward to hearing from you!

About the Author
Mark C. Perna Mark C. Perna is a best-selling author and the founder of TFS in Cleveland, Ohio, a full-service strategic consulting firm whose mission is to share and support every client’s passion for making a difference.

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