Let Mr. Messiha Stay & Principal Joyce Go
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A few months ago, one of the most highly-praised teachers in the York Region District School Board (YRDSB), Mr. Adel Messiha, was threatened with an 'unsatisfactory' rating by Principal Deborah Joyce, current principal of Sir Wilfrid Laurier Public School. Hundreds of people now stand behind this teacher to reverse this evaluation and to fight for what's right; this is his story.
Mr. Messiha has been teaching grade 8 at Sir Wilfrid Laurier Public School for many years. With a long list of credentials and as someone who has received six successful Teacher Performance Appraisals (TPA), he found himself in a situation where Principal Joyce refused to perform his TPA without even physically observing his class.
Over his 13-year-long career in education, Mr. Messiha has never had one conflict or dispute about his teaching style. In recognition of his teaching excellence, Messiha was awarded “Teacher of the Year” by the YRDSB in 2015-2016; a symbol, the school board states, “of the high regard in which York Region teachers are held and serves as a beacon of excellence for others to follow”. Additionally, Mr. Messiha actively contributes to the School Improvement Planning team, runs the school’s math and computer science club, and also provides professional development for many teachers across the school board. In light of his accolades and contributions to the school community, Principal Joyce suddenly, and without any justification, asked Mr. Messiha to stop many of his defining teaching strategies. Once Mr. Messiha began to act on the Principal’s recommendations, he received complaints from his students and their parents.
Mr. Messiha decided to reach out to the school’s superintendent, Peter Tse. He proposed that an unbiased third party should perform his TPA to avoid a conflict of interest with Principal Joyce, and to postpone his TPA to the next academic year. Rather than offering a succinct plan of action, the superintendent provided vague answers and avoided putting anything in writing. This prevented Mr. Messiha from being able to have the proper documentation of the superintendent’s statements if needed. It became clear to Mr. Messiha that the administrative members of the school community were not prioritizing the improvement of quality of education.
Ultimately, Mr. Messiha did not see any other resolution than to resign.
When his story came out, a staggering amount of people were shocked to hear that such a highly commended man had decided to resign from a job that he was clearly so passionate about. A petition made by a former student continues to gain traction, and has gathered over 1000 signatures in less than one week. Undeniably, Mr. Messiha has made a positive impact in the lives of many.
When asked by students and parents, Mr. Messiha states that it was never his intention to resign and that he is as passionate as ever to continue teaching and inspiring students the way he has for over a decade. However, the lack of support from Principal Joyce caused him to make a decision that we now want to reverse.
The case is simple: Mr. Messiha has consistently been one of the top-rated teachers in the school for almost 10 years until Principal Joyce steps into the picture and determines him to be unqualified for the job.
In Section 16.1 of the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario’s Policy Statements, it states that the “assessment and evaluation practices be developmentally appropriate, equitable, fair, and valid for all students and teachers.” If this policy had been accounted for by Principal Joyce, students and parents would not be raising the suspicion of inequitable, unfair, and invalid treatment of Mr. Messiha.
The objective of this petition is to present the facts simply for the school board. These are the facts, and they have allowed us to find the source of this complication: Principal Deborah Joyce. Schools must foster an environment of productive communication and trust between students, parents, teachers, and administration to operate effectively. Principal Joyce has disrupted this environment by creating an unnecessary and unjustified claim. We urge the York Region District School board to reverse Mr. Messiha’s resignation and to address an issue which should have been discussed months ago. If not, they are not only losing a highly respected teacher but the trust of many students and parents.
ETFO's Policy Statements (under 16.0 Classroom Assessment and Evaluation)
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