About Diane

Diane began teaching at age 18 in Alberta after two years of University at the U of A, Edmonton.  Yes, you could do that then. Realizing there was a lot more to learn about this complex profession, she  moved to Victoria and completed a 5 year Bachelor of Education degree at the University of Victoria, and  additional post-degree courses in Library Science, Teaching Methods for French, and Counselling Psychology. She  also completed a 5 year Diploma in French Language and Literature at UVic in  2 years, and completed an Executive MBA at Royal Roads University while teaching full time.

Diane taught in Alberta for 2 years on call and 2 years in the classroom, 1 year in Saanich SD63, 22 years in Greater Victoria SD61 in classrooms, and gave direct support to students with special needs as a CUPE  Education  Assistant for 10 years in SD62 Sooke. Diane also supported students as a teacher at the Victoria READ Society  for a number of years, and worked as a contractor with ICBC to support students and adults injured in crashes.

Diane’s teaching specialties are Language Arts, Special Education, Learning Support, and Reading Recovery. She was elected to executive positions by Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association members for 2 years as Contract Chair and 2 years as 1st Vice President, and previously was a union Staff Representative for 12 years.   She served as President of the Special Education Local Specialists. Association for 2 years.  Diane is grateful to have been awarded the Bill Broadley Award for Outstanding Service to the Union on her retirement in 2011.

Diane was  elected as a Trustee on the Board of Education SD61 Greater Victoria in November 2011. Long service awards for Trustees are given starting with 6 years of service. Diane suggested a new award: when 3 years feels like 6. But she is back for more, as public education is in need of defenders – and obviously, by association, so are students – given the current government’s desire to privatize cherished public goods.

This pan-entrepreneurial mindset  has treated public education as a business (note the reliance on International Student recruitment as major revenue generators for many Districts, and the associated branding and competition for customers)  and has resulted in drastic changes in classrooms due to planned underfunding and disregard for three rulings of BC high courts that directly impact public education since 2001.

CUPE Education Assistants face ever increasing demands to support several  students in sometimes chaotic timetabling as “resources” – meaning, staff –  are stretched  ever  more thinly. Specialized staff such as Speech-Language Pathologists, Occupational Therapists, Counsellors, and Education Psychologists carry unworkable caseloads. Teachers’ daily experiences are well beyond “do more with less”.

Underfunding from the Ministry of Education, along with School District 61’s chronic and increasing gap between spending and revenue has resulted in an annually increasing  structural deficit in SD61 that now stands at  more than $8 million. This calls for much increased outreach and publicity, and much increased  public and Trustee involvement.

Diane will work to achieve:

  • Class sizes and compositions that allow all students, including students with special needs for support, to have quality teacher time every day , and that allow Education Assistants to have realistic non-fragmented assignments
  • Realistic case loads for specialists
  • Lessen the up to 4-year wait to be assessed by a school psychologist, and increased transparency for parents as to a student’s placement on a wait list
  • Open and responsive school district governance that encourages and supports engagement from community, parents and students
  • A Strategic Plan that moves beyond a 1 year survival mode

The role of School Trustee in School district 61 has been steadily eroded and curtailed. Diane is committed to bringing positive change in that regard. Her voting record, and the voting record of all Trustees from January  2012 to June 2014 (updates will be posted to November 2014, pre-election ) are available on her blog.

Lined Paper:  If They Give You Lined Paper, Write Sideways

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(Authorized by Diane McNally, Financial Agent for Diane McNally)