Mrs. O’Flynn-Wheeler is a new vice principal at our school. We sat down with her to ask her some trivia, and discussed her many years of experience as an educator.
Q: How long have you worked as an educator?
A: About 26 years.
Q: How many schools have you worked at?
Q: Have you been a VP or a principal at any other schools before?
A: Yes, I was a vice principal at Frank Oak Secondary School. It’s a really wonderful school for students with special needs.
Q: Are there any particular reasons why you came to Garneau?
A: Yes, I wanted to come to a school just like Marc Garneau, with lots of great diversity and kids and academics.
Q: What is one of your pet peeves?
A: People who think the worst of people.
Q: What is your most exotic travel destination so far?
A: Costa Rica.
Q: Was it on vacation?
Q: If you could be a mixture of any two animals, what would they be?
A: I would be partly cat, because a cat knows how to relax. I would also partly be a Jack Russell Terrier because Jack Russell really knows how to get things done.
Q: If you could paint your entire house one colour, what would it be?
Q: Any particular reasons why?
A: Just because it’s bright, and reminds me of sunlight.
Q: If you could create the title of a novel that summarizes your life, what would that title be?
A: With every change comes learning, with learning comes growth.
Q: On a scale of 1 to 10, how adventurous are you?
A: In terms of career changes, very, so 9. In terms of a risk taker, physically, I would say 6.
Q: What about how creative you are?
Q: If you could be any type of fish, what would you be?
A: I would be a goldfish because they always hang out with each another and are surrounded by their peers.
Q: [Laughs] I’m guessing you’re an extrovert?
A: No, I’m an introvert. I’m an introvert, because I get most of my energy by myself. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard the great quotation for introverts, “People empty me, I need to go away to refill.” I’m a truer introvert, but I can fake extroversion.
Q: If you could hide in any room of the school for a game of hide and seek, where would you hide?
A: Probably in the nurses’ office. There’s a bed in there.
Q: Throughout your many years of experience as an educator, what is one piece of advice that you would give to any high school student?
A: At your lowest moment, even if you think that you can’t share something with someone, there is always someone you can talk to. Be it about academics, or about social/emotional things, there is always someone, and you can find them.
Q: How would that advice differ if you gave it to a college or university student? Would it stay the same?
A: Unfortunately, because university is so vast, it takes a while to really connect with some of the adults. But I would say don’t lose the mentors you gain. Even as you begin to get new mentors, try to transition your old ones.
Q: Have you had any particular mentors in your past that makes you share this?
A: Yes, yes I have.
Q: If you are willing, can you share one awkward encounter or experience you’ve had as an educator?
A: [Ponders] I’m sure there are many. I suppose even coming to Marc Garneau, I try to learn everyone’s names as soon as I can. Because it’s such a big school, I haven’t met everyone. On occasion, I have called someone by the wrong name. They’ve been good at forgiving me, that’s going to be a bit awkward, but natural.
Q: Do you make this effort with students as well, or primarily with the staff?
A: Oh yeah, with students. My last school was a very small school, and I knew everyone by name.
Q: What is one of your unexpected quirks that you have that students might be surprised at?
A: My sense of humour.
Q: If you could remove any letter from the alphabet, which letter would it be?
Q: Why X?
A: Because in any name, it’s hard to pronounce.
Q: What is one thing that has pleasantly surprised you about the school so far?
A: What has surprised me in a really good way is the politeness of the students. Something that has surprised me in a negative way is the strange numbering of classroom doors.