Good governance demands wise, timely decisions. Whether you’re the United Nations, a major corporation or a self-regulatory body such as the Ontario College of Teachers, the ability to govern decisively, prudently, and with purpose and compassion comes from leadership that is thoughtful, strategic and accountable.
Our 37-member governing Council guides and monitors the College’s performance in meeting its strategic objectives. Council assumes accountability for the College’s mandate to serve the public interest. It’s our responsibility to monitor the College’s work against its strategic priorities, to manage risk by assessing performance against the College’s legal mandate, and to ensure the appropriate allocation of resources through sound budgeting.
We take the role very seriously. It’s why we embrace the principles of good governance and why we’ve been working with a business improvement coach to review our priorities.
The work that began with our previous Council together with the College’s senior leadership team to develop a mission, vision and values continues. Using our strategic plan as the lens, we have sharpened our focus to ensure that our Council and committee decisions are principled, financially responsible and on track.
One of our strategic priorities is to enhance Council and committee effectiveness. To that end — and to reduce our environmental footprint — we adopted new meeting management software. The program makes it easier to co-ordinate documents for Council and committees and also provides an easy-to-use electronic platform and access to information for visiting members of the public.
Exploring ethical standards through Anishinaabe art
Central to our work and to the work of teachers across Ontario are the Ethical Standards for the Teaching Profession. Council members had the pleasure of meeting Anishinaabe artist and education adviser with the Independent First Nations Alliance Bruce Beardy, OCT, who created visual representations of the standards. Accompanied by engaging storytelling from his wife, Kathy Beardy, manager of Education Initiatives at the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, the couple illustrated how the Anishinaabe culture represents ethical standards such as integrity. “In the Anishinaabe culture, we measure integrity by following the Seven Grandfather Teachings,” explains Bruce Beardy. “They are humility, love, respect, wisdom, courage, honesty and truth.”
Through his art, Beardy is helping College members to explore the ethical standards of care, trust, respect, and integrity. Beardy’s artistic interpretations are reflected in the College’s learning resources (videos, reflection booklet, posters), which enrich the professional practice by integrating Indigenous perspectives into teaching.
Celebrating future teachers
We were also delighted this year to recognize three talented and dedicated teacher candidates with our annual Ontario College of Teachers Scholarship Program, which honours excellence in teacher education and financially assists future teachers. Krista Bradshaw is this year’s recipient of the Joseph W. Atkinson Scholarship for Excellence in Teacher Education. Known to be conscientious and inspirational, with a passion for rock-climbing, she is trained in safeTALK suicide alertness and is comfortable having conversations about career paths and mental health. One student who was considering dropping out of university said that Bradshaw gave her renewed confidence to continue her studies.
Maria Sinclair is the recipient of the Ontario College of Teachers Primary/Junior or Junior/Intermediate Scholarship. Sinclair has been volunteering for several local Indigenous organizations and education venues including the Museum of Ontario Archaeology. Diagnosed with a speech impairment and a learning disability when she was young, Sinclair was motivated to draw from her personal experience to help students find their individual ways of learning.
Patrick Vaillancourt is the recipient of the Ontario College of Teachers Intermediate/Senior Scholarship. He is a regular contributor to his community radio station and arts council, the local food bank and a variety of charities that include the Terry Fox Run and the Let Them Be Kids Initiative. Vaillancourt is said to be so popular with students that they never want to miss a class. Now, that’s loyalty!
My sincere thanks goes to the Council members who gave their time to serve on the scholarship subcommittee. They read lengthy applications and managed to select finalists among a long list of impressive applicants.
Council members and College staff work extremely hard to offer members the best service possible. I’d like to extend my appreciation to all of them for the many ways in which they contribute to the public interest.
Strengthened by the work we’ve accomplished in 2016, the College maintains public trust in our profession.
I look forward to celebrating continued achievements in 2017.
Angela De Palma, OCT