July 1, 2018 - June 30, 2019

President
Larry O'Malley

president@principals.ca
416-322-6600 

1-800-701-2362 toll free

 

Executive Director
Allyson Otten

aotten@principals.ca
416-322-6600 

1-800-701-2362 toll free

Senior Staff Biographies

Allyson Otten, Executive Director

Allyson Otten is the Executive Director of the Ontario Principals' Council (OPC). She has worked with and for the OPC since our inception in 1998. In 2002, Allyson joined the OPC staff as Legal Counsel, leaving the firm of Lerners LLP so that she could focus exclusively in the area of Education Law and service to our Members.

As General Counsel, Allyson was a member of our Protective Services Team, providing direct advice and legal support to our Members facing legal jeopardy. She then became Associate Director and continued to assist in providing strategic and legal advice to the Executive Director, Senior Team, Executive Committee and Provincial Council, worked on special projects and was the lead spokesperson in respect of Provincial Terms and Conditions of Employment discussions. As Executive Director, Allyson expands her focus to manage the OPC's operations, collaborate with our stakeholders on matters of common interest and oversee our subsidiary, International School Leadership Ltd. and working with the affiliated organization, Principal Association Projects (partnering with the Ministry of Education to provide high-quality professional development for Ontario's principals and vice-principals).

Allyson is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario Law School and was called to the bar in 1996. She also earned her Bachelor of Public Administration (Hons.) from Carleton University. In 2009, Allyson completed the Advanced Negotiations Program at Harvard University. In 2012, Allyson earned her Osgoode Certificate in Labour Law.

Sarah Colman, General Counsel

Sarah has served as General Counsel for the OPC since 2002 and, prior to moving in-house, served as external counsel to the OPC for several years as an Associate at Lerners LLP.

In her role as General Counsel, and as a member of OPC’s Protective Services Team, Sarah provides direct advice and legal support to OPC Members facing legal jeopardy.  She also supports the role of Professional Services Consultants and provides advice to them in support of Members upon request.  Sarah provides legal advice to the OPC Executive Director, Executive Committee and Provincial Council, and participates regularly on behalf of the OPC in Ministry consultations on the development of legislation and policy documents. Sarah played a leadership role in advocating for peer review for principals at the Ontario College of Teachers, which was achieved in 2016. Sarah has advised the P/VP provincial negotiation team over three sets of negotiations, and assists OPC Districts in their local negotiations with legal advice about proposed language and negotiation impasse resolution processes. 

Sarah has assisted in the development of numerous professional development tools for principals and vice-principals and speaks regularly at education law seminars for school board employees and education law lawyers. She is the co-author of “An Educator’s Guide to Understanding Workplace Harassment,” published by Canada Law Book in 2007, and has written numerous articles for publication in legal periodicals and in OPC’s magazine, The Register

Sarah comes from a family of educators and is the mother of three “consumers” of public education. She is a staunch supporter of public education and a strong proponent of strengthening the role of the principal.

In her free time Sarah enjoys outdoor activities, like gardening, hiking and spending time at the cottage.

Sarah was called to the Bar in 1999, after having graduated from Queens Law School in 1999 and from Western University with an Honours Bachelor of Arts and the Certificat de Français pratique, in 1994. She was the recipient of a number of academic awards in law school and was honoured to serve as a clerk to the Court of Appeal for Ontario for her articling period. 

Colin Fleming, Protective Services Consultant

Colin is an educator with 27 years of experience whose career has included teaching and administrative roles in both the elementary and secondary panels. The last four of his nine years as a principal were in a central capacity with the Toronto District School Board as a Safe and Caring Schools Administrator. Colin held system-level leadership portfolios for Threats to School Safety and Threat Assessment. He is certified as a trainer with the Canadian Centre for Threat Assessment and Trauma Response and has trained administrators, superintendents, police officers, social workers and psychologists in Level 1 Threat Assessment.

In August of 2011, he joined the OPC as a Protective Services Team Consultant, providing advice and counselling to our Members about professional and legal issues, and supports them through investigations and hearings. He also presents legal issues workshops for local OPC groups, PQP and SOQP candidates. 

In 2017, Colin completed the Executive Certificate in Conflict Management through the Stitt Feld Handy Group in Toronto, receiving his certification from Windsor Law School. He holds a Masters in Education from York University and a Supervisory Officer's Certificate from the OPC. 

Laura Hodgins, Protective Services Consultant

Laura has been an educator for 30 years, serving as an elementary teacher, vice principal, principal and system principal of program with the Avon Maitland District School Board. She served as a Superintendent of Education with the Waterloo Region District School Board from 2009-2016. During that time, she supervised a Family of Schools and was the board lead for Leadership Development and the PAR Process. 

Laura's involvement with the OPC started in 1998 when she was part of her district's first executive. Two year later, she joined the Provincial Council, representing her colleagues for four years before being elected to the Provincial Executive. Laura served as Provincial President in 2008-09. She is an Honorary Life Member of the OPC. 

When Laura isn't championing public education, she works on her own personal wellness by spending time with family and friends as well as playing the occasional game of golf. 

Joanne Robinson, Director of Professional Learning

Joanne has been an educator since 1972, was a principal with the Thames Valley District School Board and served in many capacities during that time.

Her involvement with the OPC began in 1998 when she was a member of the Interim Council that developed the organization. Most of her work was originally with the professional affairs committee on the Founding Council. Joanne served as the Provincial President of the OPC from 1999 to 2000. She returned to the OPC in 2001 to continue her work designing, developing and implementing the Principals' Qualification Program and Supervisory Officers Qualification Program.

Joanne continues to spend much of her time working with principals and vice-principals to develop workshops, courses, online learning programs and opportunities for school leaders to develop the skills, expertise and experiences needed in this new environment. She is passionate about mentoring and coaching and the powerful vehicle it can be for supporting education leaders. 

In 2010, she completed her Doctorate of Education Leadership.

The mother of two and grandmother of seven, Joanne's interest in, and commitment to, public education in Ontario is both personal and professional.

Naeem Siddiq, Protective Services Consultant

Naeem joined the OPC as a Protective Services Consultant in 2016. An educator since 1994, he was previously a secondary school administrator in the Toronto District School Board for 13 years. He is a graduate of the Richard Ivey School of Business where he was Valedictorian of the class of 1990. Naeem received his B Ed from the University of Toronto.

Naeem was the OPC Provincial President in 2011-12 and is an Honorary Life Member of the OPC. He has worked on numerous working tables on behalf of OPC Members and served one term on the Premier's Principals Reference Group.

Peggy Sweeney, Senior Communications Consultant

Peggy has been with the Ontario Principals' Council since 2000. She is responsible for all internal and external communications, as well as government and media relations.

Peggy provides communications support to principals and vice-principals throughout Ontario. She has provided media training to school leaders in more than 25 Ontario school boards. Peggy has presented at various conferences including Odyssey, the Canadian Association of Communicators in Education and the Canadian Association for the Practical Study of Law in Education. She has received numerous awards on behalf of the OPC for her communications work.

Prior to joining the OPC, Peggy worked for Canada 's largest Public Relations company as a senior consultant in the public affairs and corporate communications practice group. She has extensive experience working with both public and private sector companies involved with issues management, community relations, government relations and crisis communications. She has provided media training to clients in various industry sectors.

She also spent six years with the provincial government at Queen's Park in Toronto, where she worked on both the government and opposition sides of the House.

 

Peggy is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario, having received an Honours B.A. in Political Science. She has also completed the Advanced Certificate in Social Media from the University of San Francisco.