Two beliefs have underpinned my NLTA presidency. First, it is essential to give a clear assertive voice to the issues and values that are important to us as teachers. Secondly, real change in our professional lives happens when we stand together and speak with one voice.
My involvement in our provincial Association was the result of my belief that unions are one of the greatest forces for social change.
The Canadian Teachers' Federation as a national organisation has the power not only to advocate on behalf of teachers, it has the power to transform our society.
Currently the Federation represents over 200,000 teachers. With the potential re-entry of the BCTF, the Canadian Teachers' Federation can only grow in influence and become an even more powerful voice for teachers and for social justice.
It is important, therefore that we continue to reach out to those organisations that are still not part of the CTF family with the intention of bringing them into the fold. As president, I would continue to build bridges to those organisations with the intention of establishing common ground. It is only then that we can become a truly effective force for change on the national and provincial level.
Jim is 56 years old and is a born and bred resident of St. John's. He is currently in his second term as president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Teachers' Association. His involvement with his provincial Association is extensive. He has served as a member of the provincial executive for over 10 years, four of those years as vice-president.
He and his wife, Michelle, are parents of three adult children, one of whom has chosen a teaching career with the provincial francophone board. Michelle is a retired teacher. Jim taught 32 years before taking leave in 2013 to assume his responsibilities as NLTA President. He has taught in both small rural and large urban schools, and since becoming president he has made it his responsibility to visit schools throughout the province - no small undertaking for a province with the geographical challenges of Newfoundland and Labrador. However, Jim believes, if a person expects to represent teachers, then it is important to meet them where they practice their profession.
Jim maintains a strong commitment to social justice and believes the true measure of a society is best determined by its treatment of its most vulnerable citizens. He is a longtime supporter (over 25 years) of several international social justice organisations and serves on the boards of directors of local not-for-profit organisations involved with the relief of homelessness and poverty.