July 1, 2019 - June 30, 2020

President
Nancy Brady
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 its 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 (a service partner with the Ministry of Education providing high-quality professional development to 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. 

Anna MacDonald, Legal Counsel

Anna graduated from Dalhousie Law School and came to OPC as an articling student in 2018. She now serves as legal counsel on the Protective Services Team, providing legal support and advice to OPC members. Prior to law school, Anna worked for several years in marketing and communications, after earning a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from St. Francis Xavier University.

Anna comes from a family of educators and is committed to advocating for the well-being of principals and vice-principals.

In her spare time, Anna likes to be outside, running, practicing yoga, being creative and lots of other activities.

 Michelle Sun, Senior Legal Counsel

As Senior Legal Counsel with the OPC’s Protective Services Team, Michelle provides legal advice and support to the Protective Services Consultants and when appropriate, directly to OPC members facing legal jeopardy.

Michelle is engaged in defending principals and vice-principals in professional discipline proceedings and in assisting them in responding to other proceedings related to the performance of their employment duties. She also helps Members to navigate LTD and WSIB processes and in seeking workplace accommodations where necessary. Michelle supports the association by providing advice to the OPC Senior Staff, Executive and Council on policy, contract and corporate matters and contributes to professional development materials for OPC Members.

Elizabeth Winter, Legal Counsel

Elizabeth joined OPC as Legal Counsel in 2020, having practiced education and labour law with a law firm since 2015. 

As Legal Counsel with the OPC’s Protective Services Team, Elizabeth provides legal advice and support to the Protective Services Consultants and OPC members facing legal jeopardy. 

Elizabeth was called to the Bar in 2015, after having graduated from the University of Toronto’s Law School in 2014. Prior to attending law school, she graduated from the University of Oxford with an MSc in Comparative Social Policy and Queen’s University with a Bachelor of Arts.

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. 

Vicki Shannon, Protective Services Consultant

Vicki has thoroughly enjoyed over 30 years of experience in her career as a teacher and school administrator both in English and French Immersion with the Lakehead District School Board.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts – French, a Master of Education, and the Supervisory Officer courses with OPC, but found her greatest learning came from working closely with students, families, staff, administrators, and central board support as a school leader.

Vicki has worked closely with OPC at both the local and provincial levels for many years.  Locally, she served as the local president, the elementary local representative for Provincial Council, and a member of the local Terms and Conditions team.  At the provincial level, Vicki served for 3 years on the Provincial Executive before serving as Provincial President in 2010-11.  She also served for 7 years on the International Confederation of Principals (ICP) from 2009-2016, both as a Council member and as the Americas Representative.  Vicki is an Honorary Life Member of both the OPC and the ICP.

Vicki also has extensive experience serving as the Principal/Vice-Principal representative on the Council of the Ontario College of Teachers from 2012-2018.   During that period, she served as a bilingual member of both the Fitness to Practice and Discipline Committees, finishing her term as the Chair of the Discipline Committee.  Vicki was appointed to the Discipline and Fitness to Practice rosters in 2018-19, for the purpose of Peer Review for Principals/Vice-Principals.

In August of 2019, Vicki joined the Protective Services Team with OPC as a Consultant, working with individual members and several districts advocating for Principals and Vice-Principals, providing protective services and advice, and presenting workshops and webinars as professional learning for administrators.

In her free time, Vicki enjoys spending time with family in Thunder Bay, Southern Ontario, and Nova Scotia. 

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.

Nadine Trépanier-Bisson, Director of Professional Learning

Committed to research-based practical professional learning for school and system leaders, Nadine Trépanier-Bisson is the Director of Professional Learning for Education Leadership Canada (ELC) at the OPC and the Chief Operations and Leadership Officer of International School Leadership (ISL).

Nadine has been an educator for over 20 years in different capacities including her most recent role as Executive Director for l’Association des directions et directions adjointes des écoles franco-ontariennes (ADFO). In that role, she developed working relationships with many partner education organizations in Canada and internationally. She has participated in the design, development and implementation of many professional learning opportunities, both in English and French.

Much of her time is spent working diligently with school and system leaders to develop workshops, courses, online learning programs and other opportunities to the skills, expertise and experiences needed in a changing environment.

As a lifelong learner herself, Nadine seeks to challenge her own thinking and to stay informed about current research and innovative practices related to public education. Currently, she is working on her Doctorate of Education (EdD) in the area of International Education.

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 and the Certificate in Strategic Public Relations from the University of Toronto.

 Judith Peden, Office Manager
 

Judith Peden is the Office Manager of the Ontario Principals’ Council (OPC). Her responsibilities include human resources management; corporate management (organizing, planning and maintaining official records for all OPC Executive and Provincial Council meetings, maintaining corporate records for our subsidiary, International School Leadership Ltd. and our affiliated organization, Principal Association Projects); and operations management (ensuring compliance with employment standards, health and safety, accessibility, privacy, lobbying, copyright and other legislation and policies together with the Executive Director and General Counsel).

Judith joined OPC as the Legal Assistant with the Protective Services Team in January 1999 and became the Office Manager in October 2013.

Prior to joining the OPC, Judith was with the Metropolitan Toronto School Board for 17 years as Legal Assistant to the Board Solicitor and Assistant to the Superintendent of Special Education.