I am the youngest child of a pilot and a former teacher. I have lived in various parts of Canada, but grew up mainly in a suburb of Montreal. After a year of Electrical Engineering, I studied History, and worked for a year at a telecommunications company. I attended law school at UBC. As the Gold Medallist for my graduating class, I had the opportunity to experience working at a large law firm in New York, and at the Supreme Court of Canada, before settling in Vancouver to practise labour and employment law.
One year of Electrical Engineering, University of Waterloo
B.A. (History) University of Victoria
M.A. (History) University of Toronto
LL.B. (Law) UBC (Gold Medalist)
B.Ed. (Secondary Education) UBC
In 2003-04 I taught full-time at the UBC law school, and it was this experience that sparked my desire to teach. In 2007, after practising civil litigation (appearing at all levels of court, and before various administrative tribunals), I was dissatisfied with spending most of my time representing the rich and powerful. I decided to become a teacher.
My journey from law to education was the subject of a profile in my law school alumni magazine (click magazine link to open).
I was a TTOC in Vancouver, Coquitlam, and Surrey, which gave me a chance to see inside many schools in three different districts. It also showed me the importance of other teachers’ support, which can sometimes be hard to find while working in different schools. (If only I had connected with my local TTOC Committee back then!) I taught from 2010-16 at an inner-city school in Surrey, teaching Social Studies, French as a Second Language, Planning, and serving as Aboriginal Teacher Advocate. I have seen the impact of funding cuts on student services. What I love about teaching is the opportunity to make a difference in young peoples’ lives, and the freedom to choose how we do our work. However, government underfunding and efforts to erode our professional autonomy jeopardize the very core of what drives our passion as educators.
Experiencing job action in 2014, and being on the receiving end of the BC Liberal government’s deceptive and vindictive approach to bargaining, was a turning point for me. I could no longer simply hunker down in my classroom and make the best of a difficult situation; I felt a drive to become actively informed and involved in our union. I then stepped into a very active local and provincial role, and since 2016 I have served full-time as 2nd Vice-President, 1st Vice-President, and, since 2018, as President of the Surrey Teachers’ Association.
With colleagues from my school at a rally during the 2012 job action