This is a legacy provincial website of the ATA. Visit our new website here.

Former president and top executive to receive ATA honours

May 10, 2022 ATA News Staff


Mark Ramsankar, ATA president from 2013 to 2017, and Gordon Thomas, executive secretary from 2003 to 2018, will receive the awards at this year’s Annual Representative Assembly, which is scheduled to take place in Calgary over the May long weekend.

Mark Ramsankar

Ramsankar began his teaching career in 1987 with Edmonton Public Schools and went on to teach every grade from one to 12.

Ramsankar was president of the Edmonton Public Teachers Local No. 37 for four years. He was elected vice-president of Provincial Executive Council in 2009 and was elected ATA president four years later.

During his tenure as ATA president, Ramsankar was a staunch advocate for the teaching profession and specifically for the issues of truth and reconciliation, education funding and teacher retention. After then Education Minister Jeff Johnson released his Task Force on Teacher Excellence, which contained a number of recommendations that the ATA viewed as an attack on the profession, Ramsankar played a vital role in developing the Association’s counter strategy.

Ramsankar also played a key role with the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF), serving as vice-president and president.

Throughout his time as president, Ramsankar was known for his propensity for taking a quick selfie photo with anyone who was willing, fellow teacher or otherwise.

Gordon Thomas

Shortly after earning his B.Ed. in 1977, Thomas landed a position teaching social studies and drama at the new Sturgeon Composite High School in Namao (just north of Edmonton). Five years later, Thomas left the classroom to join the University of Alberta’s department of secondary education as a sessional instructor and academic supervisor. During this time, he completed a master’s degree and a PhD and thought he was headed for academia or a central office job, but instead joined the ATA in 1984 as an executive staff officer in the Professional Development program area.

During his time at the ATA, Thomas was responsible for many significant contributions in the areas of curriculum, student evaluation, teacher education and certification, and professional development field service. He’s credited as being the key architect of the Association’s Teacher Growth, Supervision, Evaluation policy, which is still in use today.

In 2007 Thomas worked behind the scenes to help negotiate an agreement that saw the government assume responsibility for teachers’ $2.1 billion unfunded pension plan liability.


Mark Ramsankar, former president
  Gordon Thomas, former executive secretary


Also In This Issue