101 Bloor Street West
Toronto ON, M5S 0A1
P: 416-961-8800
Toll Free (Ontario Only): 1-888-534-2222
F: 416-961-8822
info@oct.ca

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Serving on Council

College members elect 23 of the 37 members of Council, the governing body of the Ontario College of Teachers.

Members are elected from Ontario’s English, French, Catholic, and public elementary and secondary school systems, six geographical regions and serve three-year terms.

Principals and vice-principals, supervisory officers, private schools and faculties of education elect Council members to four of the 23 positions.

The provincial government appoints the remaining 14 members of Council from parents, various professions and the general public.

Testimonials

Profile photo of Wes Vickers

"Professional standards need to be regulated so that the public feels safe."

Wes Vickers, OCT, has a unique perspective on professional regulation. Not only is the Grade 8 teacher an elected Council member for the Ontario College of Teachers, he’s also an appointed member of the Council of the Ontario College of Pharmacists.

As Vickers notes, anyone making use of a professional wants their own best interests served. Just as a teacher filling a prescription likes to know that Ontario’s pharmacists are regulated, pharmacists are comforted that their children’s teachers are similarly governed.

“Professional standards need to be regulated,” he says, “so that the public feels safe.”

Vickers, who teaches with the Greater Essex County District School Board, is a double two-timer: serving with two regulators and elected to a second term with the Ontario College of Teachers. He has served on three College committees: Fitness to Practise, Discipline (vice-chair) and Human Resources (chair).

As a Council member, he had to adjust to the travel and hotel living involved, as well as to voluminous reading and debating in a public forum. “It was daunting,” he says.

Yet the challenges have been far outweighed by the rewards. For instance, Vickers has served on well over 100 Discipline and Fitness to Practise panels, and feels proud of his role in protecting the public.

He takes seriously his fiduciary and regulatory duties, and sees them tied as well to the public interest. “It’s my responsibility to make sure we’re fiscally responsible so we can maintain our viability,” he says. Ensuring that the College fulfils its mandate (and stays within it) also supports public confidence in self-regulation.

From being on Council he has learned not just legislation and governance but skills that help him as a teacher too, like time management and note-taking.

“In an ideal world everyone would serve two terms,” he says. The College’s training is phenomenal, adds Vickers, but it takes time to get your feet wet and fully understand your role as a Council member. He has had more time to grow into the position and make an impact. When his term ends he will sit out the required three years but can already foresee a return run. “More than likely I’ll come back.”

Profile photo of Wes Vickers

“This has been some of the best professional development I’ve ever had.”

As an elementary principal in Thunder Bay, Vicki Shannon, OCT, engages with many constituencies. She deals with staff, parents, board colleagues, community partners and, of course, the students. All have their own interests, but Shannon knows that her decisions must ultimately serve the children who attend her school daily.

She has the same mindset as a member of the College’s Council. “For me the public interest boils down to the kids.”

The discussions she has can involve anything from complaints to budgeting. In all cases, Shannon asks herself how the result will make children safer or healthier, or help the people teaching them to be as effective as possible. “That’s my barometer,” she says.

Shannon was a French Immersion, English and elementary curriculum resource teacher before becoming a vice-principal and principal with the Lakehead District School Board. She has been active in education outside her school, whether as a sessional lecturer at Lakehead University, an executive with the Ontario Principals’ Council or a representative to the International Confederation of Principals.

Initially, she was attracted to Council by the chance to bring the school leader point of view. Working in a governance model of elected and appointed members has been rewarding. As a principal, she can articulate what happens in the profession to help inform decisions. At the same time, she learns from Council members who come from outside the education system.

“Hearing those perspectives makes you measure your own,” she says.

Shannon has served on three College committees: Discipline, Fitness to Practise and Finance. “It has provided me with in-depth knowledge in many areas. This has been some of the best professional development I’ve ever had.”

The experience has solidified her personal mission. “The work we do in the College revolves around ensuring that educators are able to do the best job they can.”

101 Bloor Street West, Toronto ON, M5S 0A1, P: 416.961.8800 / Toll Free (Ontario Only): 1.888.534.2222 / F: 416.961.8822 / info@oct.ca

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