1) Why do you feel school boards are still relevant today given how much control the provincial government maintains over education spending?
In a word: Democracy. There’s a reason we still have a house of commons and a senate – checks and balances – while staying open to the changing needs of our citizens. The voter needs a voice more than just once every 4 years. The Trustee has to be that voice.
2) What personal characteristics or background do you possess that make you an ideal candidate for school trustee?
I have been told throughout my life that I have a talent for making people feel valued while managing situations involving conflict. The key is to find the common areas of overlap and to foster wins from both sides with acceptable compromise. Beyond that, I am a planner and an innovative thinker. All good plans involve managing expectations, constantly reevaluating short and long term goals, and persevering in the face of adversity through creative methods. A good Trustee must help to balance the ever-evolving needs of the students and parents against the fiscal constraints before the Board, and find as many wins as possible along the road.
3) Do you now have or have you had children enrolled in the public school system? If so, what has that experience as a parent taught you about what the school board’s priorities should be?
Yes, our eldest son just entered kindergarten at Chute Lake Elementary this year, and our youngest son is ripe with anticipation.
I see the financial constraints and it frustrates me. One year we have a surplus and the next year a deficit. It’s impossible to lay an educational pathway if you don’t know if you’ll have the resources to continue past the next bend. This must end.
4) Enrolment overall in private schools has shown an increase in recent years both locally and provincially. What do you think the school board should or can do to restore what perhaps is a reflection of lost confidence in the public school system?
Find out why. Don’t hypothesize – but, instead survey, interview, and probe to discover what is truly causing the exodus. Then develop a plan to address these concerns. This may involve interactive parent workshops to discover how we can deliver similar services within the public school board. We have to enlist our parents for help.
5) Why do you want to be a school trustee?
I believe in the public school system and I want to serve. I also have a vested interest in making sure the programs of today and the future meet the needs of this generation of students. I owe it to my children.