Meet Our Staff

One of our priorities as a school board is to celebrate the many gifts of our staff members and the contributions that they provide to our system, and to our students.

Our staff members work in a wide variety of positions. Many of them work directly with our students, while others are behind the scenes in support roles, but they are all devoted to the same mission: empowering our students with the knowledge and skills they need to live purposeful, meaningful lives.

In this series of brief articles, our staff members were asked about their duties with the WECDSB, how they help our students, what keeps them motivated and what they love about their jobs.

WECDSB About the author: Lindsay Hanifan is a Grade 12 cooperative education student at F.J. Brennan Catholic High School who is currently on a work placement in the board's communications department. She has a special interest in photography and video production and plans to study communications at either St. Clair College or the University of Windsor. She's considering a career in public relations or media, but is keeping her options open for now.

Melissa Cavallin - English, ESL, Social Science, and FNMI Education Consultant

WECDSB Tenure with WECDSB: 15 years as a teacher, department head, and curriculum consultant

What do you do to help students? As a Curriculum Consultant, Ms. Cavallin works behind the scenes, looking at best classroom practices for teachers to use. With English as a Second Language, she provides initial assessment tests for teachers to administer to those students who are in need of ESL support. This test can vary depending on previous education, past history with English, or age. Working with Indigenous students is another feature of Ms. Cavallin's job. She works with the Board Indigenous Education Lead, Darlene Marshall, and local Indigenous Agencies to implement different opportunities and programs for students such as powwows, student voice forms, and transition activities from high school to post secondary.

What keeps you motivated? Ms. Cavallin stays motivated by the excitement from teachers and students when they succeed. Also, she values helping teachers and students thrive from behind the scenes.

What do you love most about your job? Ms. Cavallin loves being with kids, and has come to see that as a Curriculum Consultant, she has an indirect impact on their lives.

Steven Bellaire - Principal of Safe Schools

WECDSB Tenure with WECDSB: 21 years as a teacher, Vice Principal, and Principal

What do you do to help students? As the Principal of Safe Schools, Mr. Bellaire believes in four main components that help to ensure students are safe within their schools: promoting a positive school climate, monitoring mental health and well-being, promoting equity and inclusivity, and making sure emergency response drills are occurring regularly. An essential part of his duties also includes ensuring that schools are taking an active role in preventing bullying. There must be an entire school approach including students, staff, and parents to minimize acts of bullying and its harmful effects. Professional development opportunities are used to ensure that schools are aware of the latest prevention and intervention strategies. Dealing with suspensions, expulsions, and absences are also a very important aspect of Mr. Bellaire's job. If necessary, meetings with students and their parents are organized to discuss the issue and get to the root of the problem.

What keeps you motivated? Mr. Bellaire is motivated when he works with administrators and staff to help create a positive school climate for the students. Students who experience a positive school climate feel supported and accepted by staff and peers and tend to develop a strong sense of belonging to their school community. Those feelings of belonging help to enhance the students' self-esteem and can contribute to improvements in their academics and overall mental health.

What do you love most about your job? Mr. Bellaire loves the opportunity to connect students to services that allow them to access the supports they need to address the areas that are negatively impacting their lives. These could include mental health services, counselling, crisis support, etc... When students receive the supports they need and begin to make changes in their lives, it positively impacts on the entire school community.

Mike St. Pierre - Differentiated Experiential Learning Consultant

WECDSB Tenure with WECDSB: 26 years as an elementary school teacher, high school teacher, and learning consultant

What do you do to help students? As a Differentiated Experiential Learning Consultant, Mr. St. Pierre coordinates activities that provide students with a variety of learning opportunities. He helps implement different programs in schools such as the Ontario Technological Skills Competitions, St. Clair College's 'Get Skilled' competition, the EcoSchools program which encourages schools to become more environmentally aware, Health and Physical Education, Robotics, Outdoor Education activities such as Fighting Island visits and Specialist High Skills Major program. SHSM allows students to enrich their knowledge in a preferred area of study such as business, sports, hospitality and tourism, and arts and culture. Through this program, students receive certifications, Reach Ahead opportunities where they can find out what to expect after high school, and can attend skills events particular to their SHSM program.

What keeps you motivated? What keeps Mr. St. Pierre motivated is the variety in his portfolio. Working as a learning consultant has given him the opportunity to collaborate with incredible teachers who carry out challenging initiatives with their classes.

What do you love most about your job? Mr. St. Pierre enjoys the fact that every day is a new challenge. He has the opportunity to work with amazing teachers who inspire him with their passion to engage their students.

Jennifer Klassen - Mental Health Lead

WECDSB Tenure with WECDSB: 13 years as a Psychometrist, Psychologist, and Mental Health Lead.

What do you do to help students? As the Mental Health lead, Ms. Klassen educates teachers on mental health and mental illness by speaking about the topic positively. While working with different schools, Ms. Klassen helps develop mental health strategies that can be implemented in schools to assist students. Helping students and their families work with the school to plan accommodations around more serious mental health needs is also a very important aspect of Ms. Klassen's job. Writing monthly newsletters on topics such as bullying, sleep, and mental health is a way for Ms. Klassen to communicate with parents/guardians and inform them of things happening within school that could affect your child.

What keeps you motivated? Knowing that kids and teenagers today have so much to offer the world, as well as seeing what these young people can accomplish with the circumstances they are given.

What do you love most about your job? Working with kids to improve or maintain their overall mental health.

David Petro - Math, Science, and IT Consultant

WECDSB Tenure with WECDSB: 24 years, 15 as a math and science teacher at Cardinal Carter Catholic Secondary School.

What do you do to help students? Working in teacher learning support as a Math, Science, and IT consultant has allowed Mr. Petro to take more time to explore and research different activities for teachers to use in their classrooms to improve student success. Mr. Petro looks for the best ways to help teachers assist their students if they are having difficulty understanding a topic. Using relevant information can help engage students in learning in a more interesting environment. Adapting more modern learning strategies, such as using technology, has helped advance the interest in math and science, and more students are excelling in these areas of study. EQAO results are used to monitor student success, and can demonstrate how students progress over the three year difference between assessments.

What keeps you motivated? Mr. Petro stays motivated by that internal need to not accept the status quo. As a teacher he never taught the same lesson the same way twice. Mr. Petro is always interested in making things better tomorrow than they were today.

What do you love most about your job? Mr. Petro loves the ability to travel from school to school to see how things are done differently or the same. He also enjoys the autonomy to work on projects that interests him the most when he wants to.