It's encouraging - for the College and for the teaching profession - to see the interest among members in running for Council this fall.
Under tight deadlines, 89 people managed to get their nomination papers together by the July cut-off date. Prospective candidates gathered supporting signatures from at least 10 peers in their category and submitted nomination packages as school doors closed around the province for the summer. That's no small feat.
We were not in a position to call an election until Bill 78 passed and enabling regulations were developed. As a result College staff scrambled to get the special election issue of Professionally Speaking into members' hands before school ended. We managed to beat our target mail-out date by three days.
Despite the awkward timing of the legislative agenda, staff worked closely with Council's Election Committee to create a plan to encourage members to participate in the election.
Even so, there was little time for prospective candidates to approach colleagues to nominate them. It's impressive that so many have made the effort to seek nomination. I hope that your interest matches theirs and that you learn about the candidates and vote to show them your support.
Only two candidates have been acclaimed - Roberta McEwen in the Northeast Ontario full-time position and Peter Joong in the faculty of education position. You can read their profiles in this issue. Sadly, no one stepped forward to represent members in our French Catholic secondary schools. As a result Council will eventually appoint a member in that category.
In most categories you have lots of choice. You also have several ways to learn about the candidates themselves - who they are, what they stand for and why they feel they deserve your vote.
Not knowing enough about the candidates may have kept members from voting in the last Council election but that won't be the case this time. Our communication has only just begun.
For example, this issue of Professionally Speaking contains profiles on each of the candidates and standard information drawn from their nomination papers. It also includes clear voting instructions to enable you to cast your votes online between now and October 24th.
You can go to www.oct.ca to see candidate profiles, electronic leaflets they've submitted and a file that lets you click and hear the candidates tell you in their own voices why you should vote for them. You can also read their responses to three standard questions approved by Council's Election Committee.
We hope that using this web technology to increase communication between members and Council candidates will help you participate more fully in your professional licensing body's activities.
For years now we have been streaming videos from our web site to help recruit teachers. We have also begun to use interactive video technology to consult with members from satellite locations around the province, providing us with more opportunities to speak with you when face-to-face interactions aren't possible. This has been particularly successful within the francophone community.
Better information faster is our mantra. We are always interested in improving our service to you and creating additional channels to hear your concerns, your ideas and your hopes for the growth of our profession.
We look forward to working with the Council members you elect in the next few weeks to keep building a better College for the whole teaching profession.