When speaking with her former colleagues and students, the following words come to mind: caring, passionate and leader.
After 32 years with the Peel District School Board, daughter, wife, mother, grandmother and associate director of school support services, Wendy Dowling, has retired.
A Streetsville Secondary School graduate herself, Dowling's journey with the Peel board began early. "I am grateful for the academic and extra-curricular leadership opportunities that I enjoyed in my student life. My early experiences were instrumental in my passion to work hard and make a positive difference as a service leader," says Dowling.
"As a librarian, Mrs. Dowling taught me a love of reading but as an educator and person she taught me a love of teaching and learning. I was so fortunate to have her influence early on in my education," said Kate Hadfield, former student.
In her time with the board, Dowling has held many positions. She was first hired as a casual teacher at Erin Mills Senior Public School in 1987. She has taught kindergarten students through to grade eight and was a program resource teacher, teacher-librarian, vice-principal, principal, superintendent and associate director of school support services. But, it hasn't always been an easy path for her.
"As a child, it was necessary for me to adapt to multiple changes, including seven residential relocations and nine school transitions. I experienced teachers who went out of their way to help me. I also witnessed teachers who had lost their way and did little to ignite the potential in their students," says Dowling. "All of these experiences were life lessons that I would not change. Life experiences create character and test our inner resolve. I am the product of these experiences and they shaped my values and my aspirations."
"Wendy has been an exemplary educator and leader throughout her 32 years with the Peel board. A tireless supporter of student success, Wendy's passion for learning and leadership has positively impacted thousands of students, families and staff members," says Peter Joshua, director of education. "She is a model of character, integrity and kindness, and has brought our mission "to inspire success, confidence and hope in each student" to life each and every day."
Apart from her #PeelFam, Dowling's greatest daily motivation stems from her mother, whom she calls a "shero". Inspired by her mother's "selfless sacrifices and strong work ethic," Dowling seeks to reciprocate the love and care that she's received in her child and adult life.
"As I embark on a retirement pathway after 32 years of service in Peel, I have four wishes:
- I wish that my senior team colleagues will be supported to lead through adversity and advocacy.
- I wish that school administrators will be respected for their management decisions and their experience as expert educators.
- I wish that educators will be acknowledged and appreciated for the professional judgments they make regarding students.
- And lastly, I wish that all non-academic school and department staff, along with valued community stakeholders and leaders will see and feel gratitude for their contributions to the organization and public education."
"Thank you for a lifetime of good memories. I will be watching from afar and will continue to expect great things from Peel because our students and families are deserve our very best."
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