A local school librarian will be stepping up to help lead one of Collingwood’s busiest non-profits.
For this week’s edition of People of Collingwood we spoke with Mike Ready, 50, school librarian and new board chair with Elephant Thoughts Educational Outreach.
Q: For how long have you lived in Collingwood?
A: I’ve lived here for about 20 years.
Q: Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Kitchener/Waterloo.
I went to the University of Waterloo, and then Western University. My degree is in environmental studies.
Q: What made you want to go into education as a career?
A: My dad was a teacher, and my mom worked in a school. I guess I just always enjoyed working with kids through coaching, teaching and summer camp opportunities. That’s what I was drawn to.
About 20 years ago I had a teaching job elsewhere, and I had travelled overseas and taught in New Zealand for a year.
I wanted to be in a community that offered a little bit more. Collingwood seemed to be it. I quit my job and moved up here and started looking for a new one.
Q; Where do you teach?
A: Well, I’ve taught at Nottawa Elementary School, Mountain View Elementary School and Cameron Street Public School. I’m the teacher librarian at Cameron Street.
Q: For how long have you volunteered with Elephant Thoughts?
A: I’ve been volunteering with them for nine to 10 years. I started out just doing things after school or on weekends, like little fundraisers. I’ve been on the board for about six or seven years.
Q: Is there anything you’ve managed to accomplish while on the board that makes you proud?
A: The board is more a supervisory role.
I give all the credit to Jeremy Rhodes (executive director) and all the staff. They’re the ones that put in all the time and work.
Q: Now, you’re stepping into the role of board chair. What made you want to step into that role now?
A: They approached me to ask if I’d be interested. Deb Keep has done a fantastic job. She has a big heart and has given tons of time and energy to it. Change and turnover is needed. We have a really strong board of people from different walks of life, with different experiences and different connections.
I’m honoured and flattered that they asked me to be chair of the board. Elephant Thoughts is a teachers’ organization and therefore (seeks) to impact kids locally, nationally and around the world through education. I guess that teaching element or lens is what I bring to the board.
Q: Do you have other hobbies to which you donate your time?
A: I coach. Everything’s on pause right now because of COVID-19, but I’m involved in coaching and am on the executive for the Collingwood Trailblazers (basketball).
We’ve been on pause for almost two years now, so not much is happening there, unfortunately.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like people in Collingwood about you?
A: I have three boys. I love my boys. I’m very proud of them. They’re great kids.
Collingwood’s a great place to be, and a great place to live.
For our feature People of Collingwood, we’ll be speaking with interesting people who are either from or are contributing to the Collingwood community in some way, letting them tell their own stories in their own words. This feature will run on CollingwoodToday every weekend. If you’d like to nominate or suggest someone to be featured in People of Collingwood, email [email protected].