Dear OECTA and Education Colleagues,
Over the course of the past week, I’ve had much to reflect on. From standing with my colleagues as their Strike Captain just days ago to my work with the OECTA PD network over the course of the past six years, it has been an overwhelming past few days of looking back and looking forward.
It’s in looking forward that I share these reflective notes and thanks:
Earlier this week, I was honoured to be appointed as the new Vice Principal of Chaminade College School at the Toronto Catholic District School Board. I’ve had the distinct honour to call Chaminade my home for the past six years and in this time, have learnt so much from my colleagues and have been inspired by the staff’s collective commitment to excellence in Catholic all-boys education. Prior to teaching at Chaminade, I had never taught in a single gender school and thus arrived wondering what the experience would be like. Nonetheless, I quickly found it to be a truly transformational one and an experience I yearn for my own school-aged children when looking ahead to their high school years.
My journey to Chaminade in 2014, began after three years as a Resource teacher with 21C and Academic Information Communication Technology at the system level. From the expansion of tech-integration across the board, to all aspects of eLearning and the focus of competency-based education, being a resource teacher gave me so many new tools that I was yearning to use myself as a classroom teacher. The role provided me with incredible professional learning and is one that truly transformed how I see teaching and learning. As such, I ventured to Chaminade, declining a resource position renewal, with the goal o see if I could put into action the learning I shared with teachers as a trainer.
I wanted to see if I could actually implement what I was preaching to colleagues. I wanted to ensure I wasn’t a “pseudo expert” who was able to “sell” but not “build.” As I was already discerning about formal leadership, I truly felt that I needed to spend more time in the classroom not only to hone my craft but to learn from others. Nonetheless, humbly, I think that “experiment” was a success and I leave my teaching role as the Department Head of Business and Technology with pride and appreciation in all of the great work accomplished with fellow teachers and students alike. This is important to note that the success experienced is not in isolation. It’s a result of my dynamic administrators, teacher colleagues and students who journeyed with me and many others who supported new ideas. From senior staff to community partners, the support was real. Needless to say, education is a shared reality and success for our students comes as a collective.
In regards to OECTA, as I began my journey at Chaminade, I also grew more invested in the association’s mission to provide members with enriched professional learning opportunities. As an active member of OECTA’s PD network and AQ program, all of the learning and wonderful relationships I formed will most definitely serve me well in my new role as a VP. For this, I will remember my roots. Although this new chapter will come with unique realities, different perspectives, successes and challenges, my deep admiration for the classroom teacher and belief in the potential of students will guide me in my administrative practice.
With all of this, I feel truly blessed and privileged to start this new chapter at Chaminade. It’s a testament to the school community and the positive relationships that all stakeholders have. I extend my thanks to the school’s past and current administrators, all staff, students, parents and board senior staff for their confidence and trust.
Importantly, as we all look ahead to an Ontario educational future that is still unknown and defined by critical issues that matter to all stakeholders, I deeply value the great work OECTA teachers do to enrich the lives of their students and advocate for a better tomorrow. It was a true privilege to be an OECTA teacher for 15 years. Life changing.
To all OECTA teachers, know that you are valued and that you matter. I am so proud to be a parent of two elementary children who are flourishing because of the publicly funded Catholic education they receive. Their love of learning is a testament to their teachers and an entire school community that works together for the students. I trust my kids’ teachers with the two things I love most in the world. As such, I stand with them in every capacity and deeply appreciate all of their hard work and sacrifice.
In closing, I look forward to an incredible new learning journey and doing my part to ensure that Ontario publicly funded Catholic education continues to flourish, that teachers feel actively supported, stakeholders have confidence and that all students feel empowered to become what God intends them to be.
We’re all in this together. You are not alone.