Why did you decide to run in the 2011 school board election?
I am not the type of person to sit on the sidelines and complain. Whether it was working for a school gym, helping to organize a new Novice girls' hockey league, or working for a charity I believe in, I prefer to take action and initiate change. I am not afraid of hard work and long hours and get great satisfaction from working hard to achieve worthwhile objectives.
As a parent and a volunteer I have worked hard for the best interests of not only my children, but all the students of Queenston School. As a Trustee, I can continue doing that for all the students in the Ward.
What experience will you bring to complement your role as school trustee?
My main experience with the school system started six years ago when I joined the Queenston School Community Gym Committee. I worked with a committed group of volunteers to lobby all levels of government of varying political stripe for a gym for the school. The doors are scheduled to open September 2013, and I am so proud of the work we did.
That experience was important because I learned how to work within the school system to get things done. The work included navigating administrative and political hurdles which required patience and persistence, while at the same time we had to listen to the parents, students and staff of the school. It was a balancing act that gave me the experience I think is important for a Trustee to have.
What are the major issues you would like to stand for and why did you choose these issues?
No matter what the issue, we need to make decisions within the school system based on the best choices for our children. There are five issues I believe will be important in the next several years:
- ACCOUNTABILITY – Creating accountability for our students (do we continue with no fail/no deadlines approach?) and for our system (standardized testing) generates passionate debate, and need to be revisited.
- ATTENDANCE AND GRADUATION RATES – We have to strike a balance of programming, parental involvement and creating a sense of value for education within the child that we need to motivate.
- SERVING THE EDUCATIONAL NEEDS OF CHILDREN WITH SPECIAL NEEDS - Parents of children with special needs know their child the best and need to be a full partner in the education of their child.
- COMMUNITY FACILITIES – With infrastructure renewal underway in both schools and community centres there are opportunities for both the school and community club to explore developing facilities that can serve both organizations.
- SCHOOL DIVISION BOUNDARY REVIEW – While the organization of school divisions is a provincial matter, every organization needs to ask itself once in awhile whether or not their structure is meeting the needs of those they serve. I fully support such a review.
Is there anything in particular you would like to change in your school division? In your ward?
The school division raises as much money as the city (property taxes and school taxes are almost the same amount), but education issues and the School Board Trustee elections do not get a lot of attention. At the door, those without children tell me that they do not vote in these elections because they do not have kids in the system, though children who have a quality education tend to become contributing citizens and most often stay out of trouble.
By better communication and hard work on important issues, I hope to work towards raising the awareness of these issues, and increasing the engagement of the people of Ward 1 in the important issues around education. We spend a lot of money on our education system and the outcome is so important, I believe that it deserves more attention than it gets.
Do you have any other comments regarding your candidacy?
I have always derived great satisfaction from the work I have done in the community, and I look forward to working hard for the students and the residents of the Ward.