Past President/RA Member
2017 President’s Message
As the Academy Awards approached I was would often direct the TV remote control to TCM as they were airing Oscar winning films around the clock for the month prior to the awards show. I tuned in as the ‘Miracle Worker’ was playing. This brilliant film that documented the arduous journey that young Helen Keller took with her teacher, Anne Sullivan, was incredibly inspiring. I tried to place myself in Helen’s exceptional world of silence and perpetual darkness. I felt total despair.
“Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement” she wrote later in life. This is an incredible example of an ‘exceptional’ child who refused to accept despair to become an even more exceptional adult, from disability to unbridled ability and inspiration. Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan are great reminders of why there is a CEC, why we dedicate our lives to making the world a better, barrier-free place for children and youth with exceptionalities to excel.
Lately, the world has been evolving in ways that can cause despair. With optimism these events can also lead us to action and hope. I walked in a candle-lit vigil to a neighborhood mosque after the Quebec massacre and was inspired by my neighbours. I walked with my wife in the women’s march and felt the positive energy of the thousands around me.
For the next two years I’m honoured and humbled to be your president of Ontario CEC. I have set goals for my tenure that I want to share with you:
- To sustain and grow strong membership and chapters;
- To communicate effectively with government, community, CEC members, the board of directors and CEC International;
- To provide leadership that listens, plans and acts;
- To support an annual conference that provides current, evidence-based resources for educators, families and the community;
- To better recognize the achievement of children, youth and adults with exceptionalities and those who support them through our awards programmes; and
- To leave this position with an energized Ontario CEC looking forward to what is possible.
To accomplish these goals I will need your support, input and effort. Neither Helen nor Anne did it alone, none of us can. Feel free to contact me anytime with ideas or challenges. My email address is below.
This December, I was thrilled to be part of the 60th anniversary provincial conference and to celebrate with 23 past presidents this incredible CEC accomplishment. With your help we are commencing the next 60 years, full of optimism. Helen Keller has shown us where that kind of attitude can lead.
If not before, I’ll see you at the CEC provincial conference next November in Toronto.
Robert (Bob) Spall
2016 President’s Message
It is a privilege to serve as your Ontario Council for Exceptional Children (Ontario CEC) President for 2015 and 2016. I would like to recognize those individuals on the Board of Directors who tirelessly devote their time and passion towards the challenging work of governing the Ontario CEC and volunteer to support the many initiatives that occur throughout the year. A significant measure of success for the Board comes from having great people serving. It is the synergy of this group that acknowledges the past, focuses on the present but envisions a strong future for our students with special education needs and the educators who support them.
In order to continue building a strong future we require a strategic approach. We are committed to quality teaching and learning and building collaborative partnerships to support positive student outcomes. We support the professional learning of our colleagues through the annual Ontario CEC special education conference, which is responsive to the students we have in our classrooms, through evidence and practice informed research.
I believe that we need to continue to improve our communication with our members. We have identified our website as a tool to support this initiative as well as personal contact with our members and Chapters.
Ontario CEC remains a strong voice of our members and our mission is to enhance, through excellence and advocacy, the education and quality of life for children and youth with exceptionalities.
The Board of Directors and I welcome your voice and participation throughout this year and next.