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ETFO Voice Editor Izida Zorde

From the Editor - Summer 2024

Izida Zorde

The summer issue of Voice is our Women’s issue, an opportunity to celebrate the teaching work, achievements and organizing of women. In her column this issue, President Brown writes, “Myself and many other women leaders that you see within ETFO, locally and provincially, have benefited from the skills, relationships and training offered by Women’s Programs. Guaranteed funding for women’s programs allowed me to develop my skills and fuel my passion to lead this organization today.”

This issue, we feature an excerpt from a panel discussion with four ETFO women trailblazers, originally recorded at this year’s …and still we rise conference for women members. Reflecting on the history of ETFO, President Karen Brown, former First Vice-President Susan Swackhammer, former ETFO executive staff Rachel Mishenene and Sheilagh Turkington, partner at Cavalluzzo LLP discuss equity, organizing and women’s leadership.

In a related article, Velvet Lacasse writes about her involvement in ETFO’s Mentor Coaching women’s program and the impact women’s programs have on women’s leadership in the union. “As I reflect on my own journey as a mentor, I am proud that I am using my power to empower others. I am grateful for the ongoing support of ETFO members and the shared commitment to lift each other as we rise,” she writes.

In Advocating for Yourself as a Teacher with a Disability, Kim Brown writes about getting the technology and accommodations she needed to succeed as an occasional teacher who is deaf. Charting her own experience with her school board and the process she went through to secure the supports she needs, Brown encourages others to advocate for themselves. “We must advocate for ourselves, just like we would for our own children or our students. We must collaborate with our principals and ETFO locals, our boards and relevant professionals to find solutions,” she writes.

In Not the Mural of the Story, Jennifer Matsalla reflects on working with Cree- Métis artist Rebecca Baird to create a school mural and incorporate Indigenous knowledge and community into her Kindergarten to Grade 4 arts program. “Indigenous education benefits all students. It benefits all educators as well. It helps us, as Canadians, to better understand our relationship with the land we occupy,” she writes. “As an educator, I am still learning and figuring out my role and responsibility in reconciliation and the ways I can respond to the Calls to Action.”

Those articles, along with book reviews, a crossword and a curriculum insert on Intersectional Identity will surely make great summer reading!

Wishing you a wonderful holiday!

– Izida Zorde