Todd Halliday looking forward to furthering school’s “great reputation”
BY JENNIFER CHORNLEY
Although Todd Halliday is Glynn A. Green Public School’s new principal, he is no stranger to the school itself.
When Halliday first began his career as an educator, he was a short-term substitute teacher at the school in 1995.
“I am excited to be here. I have heard so many great things about Glynn A. Green School,” Halliday said. “Glynn A. Green has a great reputation throughout for its academic and athletic successes and I am looking forward to helping continue that tradition.”
Even though Halliday has many years of principalship under his belt, he is still familiarizing himself with the new environment, as it is a new realm of getting to know the students, staff and overall atmosphere.
Halliday has been impressed with all the “great things” that are happening all around so far in the school year.
“It’s a great community. I have received lots of smiles, welcome notes and pictures from the kids that have made me feel welcome.”
Halliday, who is 52 and lives in Welland, began his education career in 1993 as a substitute teacher and worked his way up, becoming a full-time teacher in 1997, then entering the administrative leadership path in 2001.
He was vice-principal at Carlton Public School in St. Catharines, Princess Margaret School in Niagara Falls, and Westdale Public School in St. Catharines. He was principal at Woodland Public School in St Catharines, Princess Margaret Public School and College Street School in Smithville, which transitioned to Smithville Public School, before coming to his current position at Glynn A. Green.
Halliday has always worked in the elementary division as an educator teaching science, math, and coaching various extra-curricular sports.
“I have always been in kindergarten to Grade 8 level of education. I find you can really make an impact [at these ages], especially when they come to us in kindergarten, because they are so full of enthusiasm and questions,” Halliday said.
With that in mind, he said, “It’s great to see all the changes in the kindergarten program that has shifted towards a more an inquiry-based learning style.”
“[As educators], we want the kids to ask those questions— that’s an essential life skill we want to see continued into Grade 8, high school and beyond.”
“When I see the student laugh and smile, you see a lot of joy in the day and that is very invigorating for me. It makes the day easy when a child laughs or is happy to see you.”
When Halliday decided to transition from teaching to the administrative leadership role, he “struggled because I enjoyed the teaching part of it also.”
He made the decision because he thought he could “have a bit more influence.”
“In your class, you have 20 to 27 students depending on the grade, and they are your world. However, as an administrator, I now have 383 students that I can have an impact on.”
Another aspect as principal he enjoys is making connections and being part of the “big picture.”
“You get to see how everyone in the school has an important role to play, from your Library Resource Technician to support staff to the classroom teachers,” Halliday said. “When everyone works to together you can accomplish a lot of great things for all.”
Some of the things Halliday enjoys about education include the students and school communities in general.
“I have been fortunate to work in some great communities and Fonthill seems to be one of them,” Halliday said. “I have already met with the school council. I find them very enthusiastic and very involved in doing things for the kids, which makes it a good place to be.”
During the course of his career, Halliday said that the education system has evolved from linear teaching tactics to one where all students are accommodated to meet their individual needs and learning styles.
“Kids will be successful if they can and if they aren’t, the teachers in the building need to figure out what they need to do to help them achieve that goal.” Halliday added that assessing how the student is taught and in what environment are just some influences that can be changed to help them reach that “greater level of success.”
Helping students become successful is what makes him proud of his role of administrator and teacher.
“There are always those children who struggle to be successful. Whenever you have an opportunity to make a difference that positively impacts those kids, I always celebrate those moments. There are lots of kids that will always find success in everything they do, however, when implementing intervention and strategies and working a team for those kids who struggle to give them the support they need, those are the proudest moments.”
Another aspect in how Halliday has been able to help students was during his tenure at the College Street and Smithville Public Schools.
“We did a lot of work with staff on improving our practice in classroom instructional strategies and during that time, we saw a real impact in the kids’ learning,” Halliday said.
“We looked at the kids who needed the extra support and put things in place. Once we looked at what we were doing and what was needed to reach those kids, we saw a huge improvement at the school in overall learning and standardized learning measurements.”
He says this has allowed the students to focus on their strengths in how they learn and “has reached out to a lot more kids today than we used to in the past.”
Halliday would like to expand on the school board’s initiative on working with the students’ mental well-being.
When Halliday isn’t busy leading a school of some 400 students and staff, he enjoys spending time with his family and three dogs, a beagle and two jackhuahuas.
He is also learning to play the bag pipes with his son and spends his summers coaching his daughter’s women’s soccer team and watching kids play soccer, rugby and baseball.
Halliday is the second of four children and has lived in different communities, as his father was a bank manager.
He followed in his mother’s footsteps, a teacher who taught Grades 1 to 8 in a one-room schoolhouse in Kent County near Chatham.
Halliday graduated from Western University in London with a Bachelor of Education and Undergraduate Degree. He then pursued his Master’s Degree in Science from McMaster University in Hamilton, focusing on biology.
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