Councillor - René Jansen in de Wal
Throughout his 30-year career, René Jansen in de Wal has maintained a passion for education and advocacy. As Jansen in de Wal explains, “every class is a new challenge, with new dynamics. I look for something special in every student. In every one there is something special, and something to learn from.”
Beginning as a secondary school teacher in 1986, Jansen in de Wal has worked tirelessly for students inside the classroom, as well as for Catholic teachers at bargaining tables and working groups across the province. As a teacher, Jansen in de Wal has been honoured with several awards, such as being named Toronto Sun’s “Teacher of the Year,” receiving a Prime Minister Letter of Recognition for Teaching, and being the recipient of the Best Practices Award from the TCDSB.
In addition to his passion for the classroom, Jansen in de Wal has dedicated himself to protecting and expanding the rights of Catholic teachers. Throughout his career Jansen in de Wal has served on a number of OECTA committees, both at local and provincial levels. Among these, Jansen in de Wal has been a Chief Negotiator for, and member of, the Toronto Secondary Unit Executive, where he served as President; previously, he also served on the OECTA Provincial Executive, as Councillor and Third Vice-President. In addition to his work with OECTA, Jansen in de Wal spent two years as OTF Governor.
His passion for advocacy, social justice, and education has allowed Jansen in de Wal to work collaboratively with Catholic, labour, and community partners. He is Co-Founder and Organizer of several longstanding annual student leadership development programs, including the student trustee conference “Voices That Challenge,” and in 2014 he served as Trip Leader on a joint Me-to-We/TCDSB venture, where a group of 30 students spent three weeks building schools for local communities in Kenya.
Outside of the school setting, Jansen in de Wal is an avid learner and sports fan, who loves to play, watch, and coach football, hockey, and basketball. In all of his endeavours, René Jansen in de Wal enjoys confronting a challenge, and being part of a team. As he puts it, “You’re only at your best when you’re helping others to be better, and when you allow others to challenge you to be better. I always strive to make the whole greater than the sum of its parts.”