Former local president Andrea McLeod has joined the Alberta Teachers’ Association as its newest executive staff officer, with initial placement in Teacher Employment Services (TES). She assumed her role on Aug. 1.
McLeod joins the Association from the Rocky View School Division, where she was a high school science teacher for 25 years. She credits her time as a science teacher for preparing her for her new role by exposing her to many changes to the teaching and learning environment.
“I experienced first-hand the challenges faced by teachers, including increased classroom size and complexity, decreased supports, and increased teacher workload and expectations,” she says. “Since I will be working in collective bargaining, I will be advocating for the best possible working conditions for teachers.”
In addition to her extensive teaching experience, McLeod served as president of Rocky View Local No. 35 for four years, which was ultimately what led her to apply for the role at the Association.
“Serving as local president for four years allowed me to serve teachers in a new and exciting way,” she says. “I loved doing this work. This is what motivated me to apply to the ATA to advocate for teachers at the provincial level, full-time.”
Although she is excited about her role, there are some things she will miss about being in a classroom.
“Being a classroom teacher for 25 years, I experienced the incredible joy and satisfaction of seeing my students work toward reaching their full potential,” she says. “I loved that every day was a new and different experience. The composition of the class changes every semester. Also, I love biology, so getting students excited about learning it was easy!”
McLeod received bachelor of education and bachelor of science degrees from the University of Calgary. She is also completing a master of education degree in interdisciplinary studies at the University of Calgary. ❚
6 more things about Andrea
Who or what inspired you to be a teacher?
My grandma and I were very close, and she was a teacher. She was an inspiration to me, as she completed her teacher training while raising a young family and travelling long distances to attend university courses. She loved being a teacher!
What makes you the most excited to start work at the ATA?
I am so excited to have the opportunity to work and advocate for teachers.
Knowing what you know now, what advice would you give yourself in your first year as a teacher?
I would tell myself that relationships with students are more important than content. Students learn better when they know their teachers truly care about them and their learning.
What is the greatest life lesson teaching has taught you?
Teaching has taught me patience, compassion, resilience and determination. It has taught me how important it is to defend a strong public education system that is accessible to all.
Favourite song to put you in a good mood?
Anything by Bon Jovi!
Favourite COVID-safe summer activity?
I go outside for a walk almost every morning with my dad. I’m also loving that outdoor concerts are back.