Gail is passionate about human rights, seniors’ care, healthcare, homelessness and advocating for those who have no voice.
Gail Costello grew up in the Fredericton north area, formerly known as Nashwaaksis. Until recently, her parents lived in the same home that she and her three siblings grew up in – a close knit neighborhood that created many lifelong friendships and fond childhood memories. Gail’s parents were both accomplished athletes and community builders who encouraged all of their children to participate in various sports and community activities. Gail credits her parents for her passionate community involvement and for being an advocate for social justice.
After attending Fredericton High School, Gail completed a degree in Physical Education at theUniversity of New Brunswick in 1985. While attending UNB, Gail played on the UNB Basketball and Field Hockey teams. Upon graduating, she moved to Hamilton Ontario where she worked at the Canadian Mental Health Association providing recreation programming for psychiatric and homeless clients and later at the Spruce Lake young offender’s custody facility in Acton, Ontario. It was while living in Ontario, in 1988, that Gail met her partner, Julie.
Gail returned to New Brunswick to complete her Education degree in Physical Education and Biology, with a minor in Psychology. Upon graduating, she accepted her first teaching position in Bearskin Lake, a northern isolated First Nation community where she taught a combined grade 3-4 class. This experience was a life changing opportunity for Gail. For the first time, she realized that she had to unlearn everything that she had been taught about First Nations People. Over the next year, Gail spent as much time as possible talking with, listening to and learning from her students and teaching assistants about their stories and truths. This time in Bearskin Lake had a profound impact on teaching and activism work throughout her career.
After teaching in Bearskin, Gail returned to New Brunswick and has been teaching at Oromocto High School for the past 28 years. For the first 21 of those 28 years, Gail and her partner Julie, a certified horticulturalist, owned and operated a landscape and design company called Fredericton Horticultural Services. At the same time, Gail coached soccer, basketball and field hockey over a 13 year period at OHS.
Gail’s passion turned to working with and creating safe spaces for all LGBTQ2+ students, staff and allies. For the past 10 years, Gail has been the school’s GSA advisor and is the Co-Chair of Pride in Education. She is a recognized Role Model with the Department of Education’s “New Brunswick LGBTQ Inclusive Education Resource” manual and a strong advocate for gender and sexual minority youth and teachers in New Brunswick. Gail has also been recognized by the LGBT Purge Survivors for her work to help bring attention to their story and most recently, as a community Pride Hero for her work with LGBTQ2+ youth in education. In 2013, Gail completed her grad work at Cape Breton University in Educational Technology, with a final applied research project focusing on using social media to increase self-esteem in victims of homophobic bullying.
In 2010, Gail and her partner, Julie, were married at the Vancouver Olympics. Today, they live in the Lincoln Heights area of Fredericton. Gail is an animal lover who adopts rescue dogs. She is passionate about human rights, seniors’ care, healthcare, homelessness and advocating for those who have no voice.