1) Why do you feel school boards are still relevant today given how much control the provincial government maintains over education spending?
Although it is true the provincial government dictates the per-pupil funding as well as the amount provided annually for various other ‘funds’ like capital costs, busing, aboriginal programs, etc. – it is the local school board which decides how those targeted funds are spent! Local school boards, led by trustees accountable to their community, are imperative to keep schools responsive to specific community needs and opportunities. Board decisions are based on the recommendations of the teachers and staff who are actually doing the work, know the students and know where to create the ‘best bang for the buck’.
2) What personal characteristics or background do you possess that make you an ideal candidate for school trustee?
I am a networker, team-player, a ‘cheerleader’ to promote the success of programs and individuals. I have a background in business as well as education and am a strong community volunteer. I’m a parent and grandparent and value respect for others. My glass is ‘half-full’ (asking ‘what can we accomplish with what we have?’ Or ‘are there other ways to get the funds needed?’). I look for alternate ways to accomplish a goal when decisions are difficult. As a returning trustee, I am familiar with how things work and could devote more time to seeing them work better!
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?
Three of my 4 adult children graduated from SD23 schools and I have grandchildren in grades K,1, & 4 at South Rutland Elementary. Some excelled in the classroom and others have struggled. I have also observed numerous classrooms since being elected to the Board of Education in 2011. Our priority as a school board must be to make success achievable for every child.
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?
I believe the School Board needs to champion public education! There are exciting and challenging programs being offered that very few in the community even know about – and that needs to change. As a Board, we also need to continue to build strong relationships with our partner groups so we can work together and present a ‘unified front’ in the ongoing creation of the best possible educational outcomes for all students.
5) Why do you want to be a school trustee?
I love being a school trustee! I have worked so hard in my first term and learned so much – I feel like it would be a waste of my time and tax-payers money to not put that knowledge to use for a second term! All decisions are Board decisions and not by individual trustees – so no ‘power’ is gained by seeking re-election. However, I believe my influence has been positive at the Board table as well as in the educational system as a whole. I look forward to making more of a difference – our kids are worth it!