Rita Janes has been exemplary as a teacher at all levels, a mathematics coordinator, a university instructor, a researcher, a writer of mathematics materials and assessments, a moving force in curriculum work, a leader in professional development, and a conference planner and speaker. She worked diligently on committees of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM), served her province and nation at a superior level in many ways, served NCTM members from the United States and Canada at the highest levels, and did it all with a quiet air of confidence and intuition that what she did was in the best interests of mathematics education.
Rita Janes served on several NCTM committees, including the Educational Services Committee, where she helped outline the entire NCTM Navigation series, the Regional Services Committee; the Affiliated Services Committee; and the Professional Development Services Committee, where she served as chair in the years when the Focus of the Year and Learn and Reflect were outlined and became integral to the work of the Council. Rita's major service was at the turn of the century when the Council benefited from her wisdom, sincerity, and objectivity to better meet the professional development needs of teachers. This also fed into her work with conferences as chair, co-chair, or a member of several Canadian regional meetings and the NCTM Annual Meeting & Exposition in Washington in 2005. One supporter said, “She was the loudest voice for encouraging mathematics teachers to expand their knowledge by becoming active members of NCTM. She was the reason I joined NCTM.”
As a teacher of teachers, Rita mentored teachers throughout Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada, and the United States with her enthusiasm about the importance of understanding mathematical concepts and her beliefs that any child can learn mathematics and that every teacher must understand the concepts that they are teaching. In service to Canadian mathematics education specifically, she has written books, worked on curriculum committees, and refined assessment tools during her career.
As the lead or co-author for several books, chapters, articles, and scripts for television series, Rita Janes has influenced many mathematics educators. She was a writer of assessment items for the Student Achievement Indicators Program and conducted many summer institutes for teachers of mathematics. She has also influenced parents in their role in the mathematics education of children.
Rita Janes received the Barnes Award for outstanding contributions to the professional development of teachers in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador and was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her dedicated service to peers, community, and Canada. This honor is given to few and exemplifies the work of Rita Janes outside of mathematics education.