On Nov. 7, 2019, Margaret Stawarz, teacher at Lougheed Middle School, made Canadian history when she became the first woman to be appointed as the Regimental Sergeant Major of an infantry unit with The Toronto Scottish Regiment.
For 17 years, Stawarz has balanced her career as a homeroom, and now physical education teacher, while also serving in the Canadian Armed Forces Reserves
. She gave her first salute as The Toronto Scottish Regimental Sergeant Major at the appointment ceremony held on Thursday, Nov. 7.
Stawarz started teaching with the Peel District School Board in 2002 and has been at Lougheed since the school first opened in 2007.
“Becoming an RSM is an incredible honour for any soldier within the Canadian Armed Forces, male or female. It is a huge responsibility to be entrusted with the careers and welfare of all the soldiers in my regiment," said Stawarz.
Stawarz, who also goes by Maggie in the Canadian Army, has served in the military for 27 years in various capacities, including machine gunner, section commander, platoon warrant, and most recently, Company Sergeant Major. She taught on various military courses over the years, and credits her desire to become a teacher to her passion for instructing within the army. She was deployed to Afghanistan in 2008-09 as Civil-Military Operator during Operation Athena, Canada’s combat mission in that country.
“Because of my gender, some people talk about a glass ceiling being shattered with this appointment. That may be so, however, what is more important to me is an opportunity to be a catalyst for young women/my female students to seek and be successful in attaining leadership roles in the future," said Stawarz.
Her new role will include taking care of her soldiers’ professional development and career progression, maintaining standards of drill, dress and deportment, and generally being the connecting link between the officers and the soldiers of the Regiment.
Earlier this year, at the
Women in Defence World awards ceremony
Esprit de Corps’
, a Canadian military magazine, recognized Stawarz as one of twenty women who have broken down barriers in the defence world.
On Monday, Nov. 11, 2019, Stawarz will don her dress uniform and lead a Remembrance Day Service at Lougheed, where staff and students will recognize the past and current veterans and soldiers by laying wreaths and remembering their sacrifices for our country.