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Governing Ourselves

Governing Ourselves informs members of legal and regulatory matters affecting the profession. This section provides updates on licensing and qualification requirements, notification of Council resolutions and reports from various Council committees, including reports on accreditation and discipline matters.

Scholarship recipients

Honouring future teachers

The Ontario College of Teachers Scholarship Program recognizes and supports excellence in teacher education. This is done through the awarding of three annual scholarships to assist in the education of future teachers.

College scholarship recipients Nicole Billington, Devan Kernaghan and Kar.
College scholarship recipients Nicole Billington, Devan Kernaghan and Kara Nagel. The annual program supports the education of future teachers in Ontario.

Joseph W. Atkinson Scholarship for Excellence in Teacher Education Recipient: Devan Kernaghan, teacher candidate in the concurrent education program at Queen’s University.

Devan Kernaghan has a reputation for being resilient, generous, empathetic and highly motivated. One professor described him as among the most personable students he has ever met: a young man with a high level of sensitivity and respect paired with an outstanding work ethic.

Kernaghan overcame a brain injury sustained while playing football in high school, and succeeded both academically and in sports.

“My wrestling coach taught me how to believe in myself and the importance of hard work and integrity,” he says. “The science department at my high school also gave me the knowledge, skills and curiosity needed to be successful throughout my undergraduate degree.”

As a Rebound Guide on campus, Kernaghan has helped students with challenges coping with their transition. Through this program, he has developed skills like active listening, suicide awareness, coaching and self-reflection.

As an academic assistant and peer tutor, he is known on campus for his meaningful contributions. He was the co-chair of the East vs. West Hockey Game where his leadership, positive attitude, ideas and organizational skills helped him manage a $12,000 budget, co-ordinate a team of volunteers, build community support and market the event.

His volunteer work is in addition to his courses, several of which he passed with the highest marks, receiving A+ in courses such as biochemical concepts, atomic molecule nuclear physics and organometallic chemistry.

Kernaghan, who has completed an Honours degree in chemistry, has received numerous awards. He was a member of the Dean’s Honour Roll for four consecutive years and is the recipient of the Peterborough Professional Engineers Wives’ Association Prize.

Ontario College of Teachers Scholarship — Primary/Junior or Junior/Intermediate Recipient: Nicole Billington, teacher candidate in the concurrent education program at Nipissing University.

Positive. Persistent. Compassionate. A patient, passionate and dedicated leader with a kind heart. This is how Nicole Billington is described by her professors. She has been actively involved in professional positions such as tutoring and teaching assistantship. She also volunteered in a theatre program for children and teens with autism, conducted research on children with a history of maltreatment and cared for hospitalized newborn babies.

Billington also has a skill that should serve her well in her future teaching career: the ability to mark over 150 student essays in less than three weeks — on top of her workload as a student.

She credits her elementary school French teacher for her decision to pursue a career in teaching. “Madame Lachapelle used a variety of teaching tools to help us learn,” she recalls. “I still remember the songs she taught us to help us remember the difference between a complément d’objet direct and a complément d’objet indirect.”

What is her favourite part about teaching? “Helping students overcome obstacles,” she says. “Students face many challenges — at home, on the playground with friends, and in academics. It is important to me to help create a growth mindset in students where they use their skills and resources to overcome these challenges in a positive way.”

Billington, who completed a bachelor degree in psychology with a 90 per cent average, received the Dave Marshall Leadership Award and the President’s Scholarship — both issued by Nipissing University.

Ontario College of Teachers Scholarship — Intermediate/Senior Recipient: Kara Nagel, teaching candidate in the consecutive education program at York University.

Kara Nagel is known to be kind and compassionate with a spunky personality. She is someone who truly loves to build connections with students so that they feel included and respected.

Nagel admitted that growing up was not always easy for her. The teacher candidate grew up in Walkerton, Ont., a community that experienced an E.coli outbreak that contaminated the water supply in 2000. Several people died as a result of the tragedy and thousands were sickened, including Nagel and her friends.

She persevered through many other life challenges as well, including homelessness and mental illness, and has become a great advocate for mental health.

Nagel has worked as a drama instructor for the City of Kitchener, has volunteered in local high schools and has taught English as a Second Language to students in South Korea.

One of her professors says she is the kind of person who challenges her own biases and prejudices. Creating an equitable classroom is important to her and goes beyond inclusive lesson planning.

What does she love most about teaching? “I love getting to know students’ interests and bringing that into our classes because I’m able to unlearn, relearn, and learn with my students,” she explains.

Nagel, who has a degree in drama and French as a Second Language, has received many awards and distinctions including the Brian Crawford Memorial Bursary, issued by York University, and the University of Waterloo Merit Scholarship.

Now accepting scholarship applications

The Ontario College of Teachers Scholarship Program awards scholarships that provide financial support to teacher candidates. The program identifies exemplary role models and pays direct financial assistance to those with a passion for and dedication to the highest ideals of teaching. Financial awards are made possible through donations. Awards are paid directly to individuals according to the College’s criteria.

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