Certified to teach in Ontario: 2005
Current employment: ESL itinerant teacher-curriculum services
Employer: Ottawa-Carleton District School Board
A full-time elementary teacher with the Ottawa-Carleton DSB who has worked with staff, parents and students, wishes to help build a better educational future for all children, including her daughter, by conveying the every day realities facing teachers. Has taught all divisions, large classes, students with exceptionalities, English-language learners, split grades, students at risk and students from all cultures, socio-economic backgrounds and family compositions.
Duty as a Council member is to serve and protect the public interest. Hopes to help shape Ontario’s teaching profession, represent and give voice to teachers’ realities, and speak about and improve what happens in the classroom and school environment for all stakeholders. Understands what is involved in day-to-day teaching, the challenges teachers face emotionally and physically and the financial costs to making the job successful.
Transparency is needed to help protect the public interest. Hopes to influence the readiness of new teachers and their pre-service program preparation. Intends to grow as a leader and improve communications to strengthen the profession by bringing teachers’ input to Council and committee meetings. Will ensure that professional standards remain high so the public feels safe, comfortable and confident that children are receiving the best education possible.
Thank you for taking the time to read my biography. You are not reading it for me, but because you believe in what education in Ontario can be. Having taught a wide range of children, I believe students need to learn in a safe, equitable, diverse and caring environment. Both teachers and students need to feel safe and valued. With increasing mental health and other issues, I want to help ensure that teachers entering and already in the profession can successfully face the day-to-day challenges and have the resources required to do so. As Winston Churchill said, “Give us the tools and we will finish the job.”
Decisions made by others have caused shortages of technology and resources in schools. Believing I can make a positive difference, I am running for Council. As a good listener and communicator, I believe I can clearly convey our point of view. Together we can build a better education system. We know the challenges. We’ve heard them. We’ve talked about them for years. Let us implement them now. This position is not about me. It is about us and what we can do together. The task has to be about restoring our sense of common purpose and realizing that few obstacles can withstand the power of our voices all calling for positive change.
Eligible nominators (Registration)
- Laura Argue, OCT (492498)
- Katharyn Dianne Buck, OCT (530056)
- Kimberly Christie, OCT (446269)
- Jana Cleiman, OCT (272584)
- Susan Fields, OCT (260735)
- Sarah Gallaway, OCT (451927)
- Shaw Jackson, OCT (190242)
- Jennifer Lee, OCT (493152)
- Jennifer Nielsen, OCT (490752)
- Jennifer Shank, OCT (181381)
- Michael Stratford, OCT (457129)
- Rebecca Taggart, OCT (588905)
1. Melissa Gaffen attests that she is eligible and willing to be nominated, meets all the requirements to run for the Southeast Region – Full-Time position and to serve on Council, confirms that all information provided is accurate and agrees to the publication of this information (in response to questions 1, 2, 3, 6 and 7 of the Candidate Statement part of her Nomination).
2. Melissa Gaffen does not hold an excluded position that would prevent her from serving on Council (in response to question 4 of the Candidate Statement part of her Nomination).
3. Melissa Gaffen acknowledges that, if elected, she will be required to swear an oath or make an affirmation to serve in the public interest prior to assuming a Council position (in response to question 5 of the Candidate Statement part of her Nomination).
1. How can the College – and you specifically – work to achieve its strategic priorities? Please choose a priority and discuss.
STRATEGIC PRIORITY: Broaden membership engagement in the work of the College, and in particular, engage non-traditional members, including retired teachers, First Nations, Métis and Inuit Teachers.
The College can broaden membership engagement by focusing more in its communication on non-traditional members, particularly on its website and in newsletter information as well as social media about FNMI teachers and retired teachers. In order for these groups to become interested, they should be able to see members from their community taking part in work of the College as well as other educational matters. Communication through various media forms should have more information about each of these groups. It would be helpful for all to make available educational programs geared toward native youth of each community to the rest of the education community. Professional Development, workshops and AQ courses aimed at FNMI would give current members in the teaching community greater knowledge of the culture as well as difficulties faced by FNMI students. The challenge is how to help them preserve their culture yet meet the educational challenges of the 21st Century. Retired teachers have much to contribute based on their tremendous wealth of experience. Better communication between active and retired teachers would be mutually beneficial.
2. What can the College do to promote the public interest in the teaching profession?
I believe the College needs to have suitable representatives that would arouse public interest. One way might be special awards for character building. Through the press and social media ads within the community, the College needs to show the public how many teachers go above and beyond in working long hours with their students, their community and their profession. This can be facilitated, for example, through the promotion of teachers through videos showing educators working and reaching out to the students and the community.
3. What knowledge, skills and experience do you have that will contribute to the College’s fulfillment of its mandate?
I have taught students and worked with parents, teachers as well as board office staff from a wide variety of cultural, ethnic and socio economic backgrounds. I have proven organizational and time management skills. I am open to new ideas from others. I have worked in the Ottawa community doing volunteer work for many years and have taught in primary, junior and intermediate divisions. I put students first and through continuously learning and staying updated in teaching practices (AQ courses, PD workshops). My school of thought is that it isn’t about having all the answers but finding them and being as open and transparent as possible. I can also relate to parents and see things from both points of view having my own daughter in school. I have the proven ability to work hard and effectively for students, teachers and the community and would like to do so on your behalf. I hope you will give me your vote as your rep so I will be able to serve you and the College.