Ontario English Catholic Teachers

First Vice-President - Chris Cowley


“Teaching runs in my family,” says Chris Cowley. “Both of my parents were teachers and I remember going in every August, setting up the classroom and sharpening pencils for my dad.”

Cowley’s teaching roots go back ever further. His grandmother was a trustee with the Lambton County Catholic School Board. And every Friday over dinner, conversation would invariably turn to education issues. “It’s a great profession to be in,” says Cowley. “It’s something I always wanted to do.”

Cowley has a degree in history and says that is his favourite course to teach, along with Grade 12 religion. “In higher grades it’s about applying moral teachings to the real world,” he says.

He got involved in OECTA completely by chance in his first year of teaching. In the staff room one day, he was called over and asked, “Hey Chris, do you want to be on the union?” His mother was on the executive at St. Clair Elementary and enjoyed it, so he decided to get more involved in his local unit in Brant Haldimand Norfolk.

“All beginning teachers should get involved in their Association,” says Cowley. “It shows how much goes on behind the scenes that the average teacher doesn’t see, and how much good work we do at OECTA for all teachers.”

As an OTF Table Officer, Cowley works with other affiliates on issues that affect the entire profession. He served as OTF President for 2017 to 2018. “It’s a great way learn about education issues on a national level, discuss issues all teachers feel are important, and find common ground to move forward,” he says.

The Sarnia native is an avid golfer and swimmer and loves to read about history. He is also fond of “nerdcations,” using his vacation time to visit historic sites. His goal is to visit every presidential museum.