November 10, 2014

            This past year, Victoria Park CI welcomed a new vice-principal to our school, Mr. MacNeil! A proud dog-owner, traveller and politics enthusiast, Mr. MacNeil will make a great addition to our school.

            IR: “Where have you worked in the past, and what were your experiences?”

MM: “I started my career at a First Nations community in Berens River, Manitoba, halfway up Lake Winnipeg. It’s a small community with about a thousand people. It was a K-12 school, [and] I was teaching Grade 9. Because it was such a small school, we interacted with the elementary kids; I had to do their lunch duty and recess duty. It was very interesting because I got know the community quite well and went fishing with community members and teachers. After three years I came back [to Toronto], [teaching] in York region, Woodbridge, and then in Markham. Then I joined the TDSB and taught in Scarborough. I became a vice-principal at Sir Oliver Mowat C.I. before coming here.”

IR: “Why did you choose to work in the field of education?”

MM: “I remember after I finished my undergraduate degree at Laurier, I worked for the summer … in a steel factory. Then I backpacked in Europe for four months. When I was travelling, I ran into many teachers …who talked about what a great career it was and how it keeps them young. It allowed you to have a lot of freedom and creativity in developing your lessons. It sounded like an interesting way to go. I had thought about being a journalist at the time since I was very interested in geopolitics; I always worked on the university newspaper. I came back, saved up money, and then did my education at St. Francis Xavier.”

IR: “What is your role as VP and what changes do you want to implement at the school?”

MM: “Well, each vice principal has a portfolio, a list of tasks that they are particularly responsible for. They may seem boring on the outside, but they are important to make sure that the school runs efficiently. I deal with, for instance, the I to Q and the alphabet, and all the issues around those students. Special-Ed is a big part of my portfolio, so I am working with the FOS and that portion of the school. I’m enjoying that that hasn’t been a part of my portfolio before, so it’s good to keep the learning curves coming. While students are learning throughout high school, it’s also important that as you become an adult, you intend to be a lifelong learner; you keep learning new things and that’s what I think makes life interesting.”

IR: “What are your thoughts on this school’s student pride/spirit?”

            MM: “Pretty good. I am coming from a school where it was very strong. I see that there is fertile ground here for some great school spirit, but that’s why this year I am working with the SLC and working on seeing if we can make things even better. I think that we are moving in the right direction, but I do think we have some space to keep moving forward. I am looking forward to helping with that.”

IR: “Where do you believe VPCI can improve?”

MM: “I think that it is important that we are inclusive of everybody in this school and I think that we’ve got a lot of high-fliers here; we’ve got our IB program and that’s great. I know that this was an issue that came up in the election last year, and Alex, our SLC President, spoke to it in his speech that we should bring IB students and regular-streaming students together a little more often and value each of them. I think being inclusive is worth our efforts.”

We’d like to officially welcome Mr. MacNeil as our newest vice-principal. As you can see, his vision for VPCI is a united one, a wish shared by many of the students and staff at our school. We wish Mr. MacNeil all the best on his portfolio and are certain he will succeed.