Andrea began her career with the Ottawa Catholic School Board (OCSB) in 1984 and has been a classroom teacher, resource teacher, technology teacher, and vice-principal. She has been an exceptional principal for the past eleven years, in three different schools.
Her career as an educator has been marked by collaborative relationships with her colleagues, tremendous adaptability to changing technology and pedagogical practices, and a deep engagement with students and parents that fosters partnership in student learning.
She is a strong, visionary leader who supports, leads and empowers her staff to take risks, try new strategies, and adopt change. Her mantra is “Try one new thing” and she provides a learning environment that allows her staff to constantly grow professionally and refine their teaching practice.
Andrea heads one of seven OCSB schools participating in a global research project focused on fundamentally changing pedagogical practices, “New Pedagogies for Deep Learning”, and under her leadership St. Cecilia is a shining example of what the global competencies of the Deep Learning framework look like in action. Andrea has welcomed visitors from the Ministry of Education, from other school districts, and from educators globally, to see what these sweeping changes in practice look like and to examine the leadership that motivates Andrea’s staff and students to adopt this revolutionary new thinking.
When Andrea was chosen to open St. Cecilia in 2012, she made it a priority to integrate the latest technology into the learning environment of this purpose-built “future ready” school. Her students and staff employ a myriad of innovative digital tools, including robotics, green screen videos and recording devices, to enhance their teaching and learning. She herself uses the latest communication tools to keep the wider school community informed about the exciting initiatives underway at the school.
Under Andrea’s leadership, the school has initiated partnerships and embarked on social justice projects that have raised awareness around Indigenous and environmental issues. She has facilitated partnerships with the Odawa Friendship Centre, Ryan’s Well, OK Clean Water, the Barrhaven Food Cupboard and Big Brothers/Big Sisters. St. Cecilia is a Gold Certified EcoSchool and has a very active Green Squad. Through these activities and partnerships, students are putting Catholic social teachings into action and learning that they can make a difference in their community and in the world.
Denise Andre is the Director of Education and Secretary-Treasurer of the Ottawa Catholic School Board, and was appointed in July 2015. She has been with the Ottawa Catholic School Board for 39 years and has served as a teacher, department head, vice-principal, principal, superintendent, and deputy (associate) director.
Denise holds a Masters of Education and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Ottawa and a Bachelor of Arts from Carleton University, and has been married to Bob Thomas for over 32 years.