The Reckoner is delighted to have been able to interview Mrs. Evans, the new Principal of Marc Garneau CI. In a brief ten-minute interview, Mrs. Evans shared some of her insights, information about her career path, and wonderful enthusiasm to begin working at Garneau.
Disclaimer: the responses to the following questions have been modified to fit the Reckoner Manual of Style and Conduct (MOSAC) constraints. Please check out the MOSAC on our website for more information.
Q: Could you please tell us about your career from when you first started working until now?
A: For sure I can! Teaching was my second love; I did my undergraduate and graduate degrees in civil engineering, so I worked as an engineer for a lot of years. I didn’t like it very much. I didn’t like the job that I was doing, and I didn’t find it very satisfying or fulfilling. Right after 9/11—because just like how COVID triggered a change in people’s outlooks on how they lived their lives, 9/11 was like that for us older folks—I rethought what I was doing and went to teachers college. Before coming to Marc Garneau CI, I was at Lawrence Park CI for 2 years as a vice principal, and before that I was a vice principal at Don Mills CI. I worked at the board office prior to teaching at Don Mills, but most of my teaching career more early on was at Northern Secondary School.
Q: Have you worked outside of Toronto for education?
A: Not in education, no. I’ve been with the TDSB the whole time.
Q: Were you a teacher for a while before working in an administrative role?
A: Yes, all administrators have to be teachers. I was a teacher for a long time and math and physics were my teachables. Those were the subjects that I loved.
Q: What would you say is the biggest difference between your previous civil engineering job and working in education?
A: Well, when you work in a private practice or an industry, you work for a client or for a boss. My job was to do environmental cleanups for big airlines, so my boss was American Airlines. I spent a lot of time working in airports, since there’s a lot of contaminated soil and water there. I didn’t really like having a big business, like American Airlines, as a boss, because I never really felt like I could make a difference.
But when you’re in education, who’s your boss? Who do educators serve? We serve the kids. We are a customer service industry where the customers are the students. There’s a lot of very fulfilling work because we meet students when they come in Grade 9 as nervous thirteen or fourteen year olds, and we say goodbye and good luck to them at eighteen in Grade 12, and there’s a heck of a lot of great things that happen in those four years. Students get to figure out who they are, and what their place in the world is.
Q: What is your favourite aspect of your job in education?
A: Talking to students! 100%. I think everybody in education would say the greatest part of their job is meeting with and talking to students.
Q: What is, in your personal opinion, the biggest challenge when working as an educator?
A: That’s a tough question, as my challenges are different as a principal compared to as a teacher. But as an educator in general, there’s a lot of ways that we get pulled in different places. There’s a lot of changing focuses that the Ministry of Education, which tells us how to do our jobs and run our schools, wants us to prioritize.
I’d say the biggest challenge is to figure out how to do what my bosses want, and to combine that with making sure that every single student that walks through the doors feels safe, healthy, challenged academically, supported academically, that they belong in the building, and that there is an amazing space for them.
Q: What is one thing you look forward to as the Principal of MGCI?
A: There are so many things that I don’t know! I am really looking forward to getting to know the kids, becoming a part of the community, and learning all the teacher names. There are a hundred and thirty staff here, and that’s a lot of people to get to know well. So I really want us to get into a good place where we continue to have an amazing community of staff and students working together.
Q: What are your hobbies outside of work? What do you like to do in your spare time?
A: I like to do yoga, and I watch way too much netflix. I am really enjoying the show “Heartstopper” right now.
Q: What are your thoughts on pineapple pizza?
A: Oh, I am 100% all about pineapple. Not only that, but my daughter would often order pizza where pineapple is the only topping. So not only am I pro–pineapple, I will actually go with pineapple as the solo star.
Q: What would you say is your number one piece of advice for students after working in education for so many years?
A: Get involved. Because once you get involved in school, you find a home. You develop a sense of belonging, and with that comes opportunities and the drive to succeed. So getting involved is the number one thing that kids can do. Join a club, join a sport, volunteer in the school, just get involved.