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From the Chair

Serve on Council

Your voice is needed

By Nicole van Woudenberg, OCT
@Nicole_OCTOEEO
Photo: Matthew Plexman

Photo of College Chair Nicole van Woudenberg, OCT, smiling.

The first time I ran for Council was in 2006. I didn't win. I tried to run again in 2011, but didn't get past the nomination stage.

Obviously, I wasn't deterred. In 2015, I was a successful candidate and began my first three years by serving on the seventh Council. It seems like just yesterday when I was elected Chair and Tim Gernstein Vice-Chair at the inaugural meeting of the eighth Council.

Together with our 37-member team, we self-regulate the teaching profession in Ontario. Professional self-regulation is a privilege. It reaffirms that Ontario Certified Teachers are integral to setting direction for the teaching profession. Professional members who serve on Council do so in the public interest.

Once elected, Council members take an oath or affirmation confirming their duty to act and make decisions in the public interest. Moreover, they explicitly affirm that "I will ensure that other memberships, directorships, voluntary or paid positions or affiliations that I may hold will not interfere or conflict with the performance of my duties as a Council member."

This is an exciting time for the College. We find ourselves at a crossroads. This Council has made recommendations to the Minister for changes to our governance model and is awaiting government action. Until then, we abide by our existing election regulation and begin the process of encouraging members to considering running for Council.

In the December 2019 issue Tim and I invited you to reflect on your experience and consider serving as a member of Council. I am coming up on my sixth year as a Council member and it has been one of the most impactful learning experiences of my career.

Whether you are new to the profession or a seasoned administrator, your voice is needed at the table. I highly encourage members who self-identify with an under-represented group to consider serving on Council. Check out the videos on oct.ca to learn more. Your colleagues will be happy to nominate you: just ask them — I dare you.

Follow me at @Nicole_OCTOEEO for updates.

Nicole van Woudenberg's handwritten signature.