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Ottawa teacher first head of College of Teachers

May 01 1997

TORONTO An Ottawa elementary school teacher has been chosen as the first Chair of the Ontario College of Teachers, the newest and largest professional college in Canada.

Donna Marie Kennedy was acclaimed as head of the College at the first official meeting of its Governing Council today.

The Ontario College of Teachers will take over responsibility for licensing the provinces 165,000 teachers from the Ministry of Education and Training in mid-May.

Ms. Kennedy has taught Grades 1 to 9 in schools in Ottawa, Toronto and Maynooth. She is also a special education teacher and formerly worked with handicapped adults in LArche Community. She is one of 17 teachers elected by members of the profession to the College's governing Council earlier this year. Another 14 Council members are appointed by government to represent the public.

Ms. Kennedy said that while she believes teachers have done a good job of shouldering responsibility for the profession in the past, "Our new College has been given the unique task of collective responsibility for our profession, our professional education and for our professional needs. Our challenge will be to build on the excellent work teachers have done in Ontario and continue to improve in all these areas."

John Cruickshank, principal of Marvin Heights Public School in Mississauga, was elected vice-chair of the College. He is a former instructor for the York University Faculty of Education and was the co-ordinator of elementary program development for the Ministry of Education and Trainings Independent Learning Centre.

The Ontario College of Teachers was created as a result of the recommendations of the Royal Commission on Learning. Membership in the College is open to anyone who is qualified to teach in Ontario and is a requirement for those who wish to maintain their teaching certificates.

The College, while regulating teaching qualifications, will also:

  • set pre-service and in-service standards for professional learning among teachers
  • set membership criteria, enrol members, and create a provincial register of teachers
  • investigate complaints involving members, conduct hearings into allegations of professional misconduct and take appropriate disciplinary actions.

"The legislated mandate of the College places great responsibility on all our shoulders," said Margaret Wilson, registrar of the College. "We are beginning to raise accountability of the teaching profession to a new level a new level of openness to the public and to our teacher members."

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