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2023 President’s Message to Ontario CEC Members

New Year Greetings to Ontario CEC Members!

The Board of Directors for Ontario CEC wishes you the best for 2023. We hope that this message finds you in good health, balancing the demands of work and personal life, supported by family, colleagues and friends.

Meet our current Board of Directors.

We welcome two new board members, Chad Downes and Roselyn Gishen and a returning board member, Dianne Parr. We thank our departing board members, Ana Lia Pauchulo, Carmen Hall and Linda Ismailos for their service and dedication to Ontario CEC.

We recognize the long term impacts of the pandemic on children, youth, families and all who provide supports and services to them. We know that you continue to work to offset the learning disruption that significantly impacted our most vulnerable students, including provision of mental health supports and collaboration with parents as partners.

The Ontario CEC 2022 Special Education Conference, December 2-3 at the Toronto Eaton Centre Marriott Hotel, was a highly successful, well-attended in-person conference. The energy and enthusiasm among attendees and presenters was evident throughout the two days. Dr. Gordon Flett and Dr. Sue Ball, spoke about the importance of “mattering”. Every child and educator needs to know that they matter. It only takes one person to make a difference.

Mattering has value for ourselves and also gives value to others. It doesn’t take much to connect with others and doing so will increase our sense of mattering (i.e., a sense of being important to others). Mattering is a vital resource associated with resilience and adaptability that is central to the health and well-being of students, educators, and their families.

We were pleased to recognize 13 students and 11 adults at the Awards Presentation. Following the presentation, award recipients enjoyed a buffet luncheon with conference attendees and current and previous board members. Long term Ontario CEC members, Pat Herron (25 years), Amy Shannon (30 years) and Cheryl Zinszer (45 years) were recognized at the Annual General Meeting on December 1.                     

The Ontario Pioneers CEC Subdivision, which has provided support to Ontario CEC for many years, will now be known as the Ontario CEC Subdivision of Leaders and Legacy. The criteria for membership are 15 years of CEC membership or having served in a CEC leadership role. Leaders and Legacy, the Ontario Subdivision of Administrators of Special Education (OCASE) and the Ontario Subdivision on Autism & Developmental Disabilities (OSDD) are our three active Ontario Subdivisions.

The contacts, connections and resources provided by CEC are essential for professionals who work in this field, as we navigate new ways to develop and apply programs and materials.  Members of CEC have access to webcasts, podcasts, journal articles, resource links, and communication tools that are Canadian-wide and world-wide, to explore and use to enhance their practice. As a member of the many Divisions CEC has to offer, you can dig deeper into issues that are more specific to your professional experience.

Advocacy and progressive change is a cornerstone of our Ontario CEC mission. The Ontario Council for Exceptional Children has and will continue to advocate for the needs of exceptional children and youth through communication and consultation with the Special Education Branch of the Ministry of Education, the Minister’s Advisory Council for Special Education (MACSE) and the Ontario Council of Administrators of Special Education (OCASE - a subdivision of the CEC Council of Administrators of Special Education).

During 2022 Ontario CEC responded to requests for consultation from the Ministry of Education regarding the Ontario Language Curriculum and from the Deputy Ministers of Education, Health, and Children, Community and Social Services regarding Policy/Program Memorandum No. 81, Provision of Health Support Services in School Settings.

Volunteer with Ontario CEC – Enhance your leadership skills through support of CEC at the provincial or local level. Join an Ontario CEC committee for the opportunity to assist with a project, such as increasing our social media presence, developing and/or promoting a local chapter, helping with their initiatives, working with the new Ontario Student Chapter or assisting at the annual conference. Email

An annual Awards Program celebrates adults and youth from our schools, businesses, and Special Education Partnerships throughout Ontario.  CEC chapters in Ontario host a community awards event each year. Provincial awards are presented at the annual conference.  As an Ontario CEC member you can submit a nomination to your local chapter or directly on the website.  Contact the Ontario CEC Awards Chair, Dr. Sue Ball for more information.

Did you know you can make a Memorial Donation to Ontario CEC? Information can be found at 

Part of the mission of Ontario CEC is to maintain and grow our membership across Ontario. As a member of CEC you have a role to play, by reaching out to colleagues, explaining the benefits of a CEC membership, inviting a colleague to attend our conference and guiding them towards the Ontario and International CEC website and our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts. We encourage you to stay in touch with us through these sites; comment with colleagues through your Canadian Community found on the CEC website, and share information on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Potential new members can read the Top Reasons to Belong to Ontario CEC here.

There is now a province-wide Ontario Student Chapter, welcoming post-secondary students from across Ontario.

Do you know a student in a post-secondary program who will be in a placement actively interning/student teaching at a school, sometime in the next 6 months? Or perhaps you have contact with a post-secondary professor or instructor. Ensure that they are aware of the 6 months Free CEC Student Membership, offered January 1 to June 30, 2023, which provides  students with support via bi-weekly resources to aid in their student teaching and an online community for them to connect with peers. 

I extend my appreciation and best wishes to all of our Ontario CEC members who support exceptional children and youth in Ontario.

Donna Zuccato                                                                                                                                          


Ontario Council for Exceptional Children


Check out our website:

Facebook:     @ontariocec

Twitter:          @OntarioCec

Instagram:      cecontario


President’s Goals 2023

Quality Teaching and Learning

  • Develop links to Canadian and international research-based information on our website
  • Enhance interest and use of our online resources on our website and social media
  • Continue to utilize connections with professional staff and students at post-secondary institutions
  • Increase awareness among board members of the needs of our membership and all those who work with exceptional children in Ontario


  • Focus our efforts towards advocacy and progressive change through communication and consultation with the Special Education Branch of the Ministry of Education, the Minister’s Advisory Council on Special Education (MACSE), the Ontario Council of Administrators of Special Education (OCASE) and other organizations and individuals who work on behalf of children and youth with exceptionalities

Collaborative Partnerships

  • Communicate effectively with educators, service providers and families in all geographical areas in Ontario                                
  • Maintain and build membership across Ontario, including in post-secondary institutions
  • Expand diversity among board members and Ontario CEC membership
  • Recruit and support new board members and new Ontario CEC members

Organizational Vitality

  • Enhance communication and adherence to timelines and processes
  • Continue to utilize our cloud storage system (Google folders) to support teamwork among committee members
  • Develop leadership skills through use of our Ontario CEC Skills and Attributes document and ongoing mentorship among board members
Posted:  1 February, 2023

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