As former premier of the Northwest Territories, Joe Handley intimately understands the unique needs of Canada's North. Through his Métis heritage and through the strong relationships he has developed with Canada's government agencies throughout his political career, Mr. Handley brings a valuable voice to CESO's board of directors.
Mr. Handley began his career as a public school teacher in northern Saskatchewan. He went on to become an assistant professor at universities across Canada before becoming a school trustee and chief superintendent in Manitoba. Mr. Handley was also the director of Education for the Sageeng Education Authority, the first band-controlled school system in Canada. He later became an active advocate for change in the NWT school public and post-secondary school system.
In 1985, Mr. Handley became the deputy minister for the government of the Northwest Territories. He held that position until 1999, when he was elected as a member of the NWT legislature. He went on to roles in a range of government ministries before becoming NWT's premier in 2003. He retired from political office in 2007.
Mr. Handley has been honoured with awards for his political contributions, including Queen Elizabeth's Jubilee Medal, and the Aboriginal Achievement Award. A Saskatchewan native, he was also awarded the Saskatchewan Centennial Medal for his significant contribution to Canada.