Wednesday, March 23, 2016 2:00 pm ·  0 Comments
There is just something familiar about Ruth-Anne McAuley. It took me a moment to realize that she reminded me of one my favourite teachers from high school. She is now a retired teacher, but it is apparent that she loved teaching.
Ruth-Anne was born in Niagara Falls. She was the second oldest of six children. Her dad was a lab tech, and her mom was working hard raising six children. She graduated from a local high school, and then went to Queens University in Kingston, and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts & Science. She went on to be come a teacher, during which she took a summer course at Dalhousie University in order to enhance her drama training.
Her first job was in Welland, and it lasted for 8 years. She then went on to teach at Queen Elizabeth Park High School, which is now QE Park Community and Cultural Centre. After QE Park closed she transferred to Oakville Trafalgar High School , and retired 3 years ago.
During this time she married a banker whom she met in Niagara Falls, moved to Burlington, and then to Oakville. They’ve been married for 32 years. Ruth-Anne and her husband have 3 children whom are all grown up; one of which is an opera singer in Manhattan, and the other a high school teacher. The third child is Matthew, who will compete in the Ontario Special Olympic Games for swimming.
“Matthew,” she explains “was diagnosed with Down Syndrome at birth. When Matthew turned 2, I realized there were inadequate supports for speech therapy. Thankfully, a group of parents were able to develop their own speech therapy program with the support of the United Way and local service clubs.”
However, as a teacher Ruth-Anne realized that more had to be done to support children with Down Syndrome to ensure their success in the school system. She became an advocate on behalf of the Halton Down Syndrome Association. She sat on the Special Education School Advisory Committee for the Halton Catholic School Board for Down Syndrome first as a member, then a Vice-Chair, and finally the Chair.
“You learn a great deal working on the Special Education Committee,” she stated. “Everyone has competing needs, dealing with limited resources, so you have to find common ground.”