Durham District School Board
AjaxNumber of Available Seats: 2
Donna EDWARDSElectedAbout Me:
Donna was first elected as a Trustee for the Durham District School Board for the Town of Ajax, Ward 3 in 2010. Due to population growth and distribution, voters will be electing 2 trustees for the whole …of the Town Ajax in this election.
Donna is a strong believer of an accessible, equitable, public education system. She also believes every child can be successful in whatever path they choose, if provided with quality education in a safe and equitable learning environment. Based on these beliefs, she has been a strong advocate at the board table and in the community. She has advocated and/or supported:
- Provision of programs and services to address anti-indigenous racism, anti-black racism, ableism, bullying, homophobia, classism, and other forms of systematic/discriminatory barriers to students and staff.
- Development of Human Rights and Indigenous Education policies
- Increased mental health supports and services for students and staff
- Drawing from reserves to support increased health and safety protocols in the school during the pandemic
- The Ministry of Education funding all operational costs related to COVID
- Allocation of resources and funding focus
- Accessible public transportation in Durham
- The redistribution of Trustee representation for the Town of Ajax for equity of representation
- The Town of Ajax keeping all crossing guards during lunch time at current locations
Donna is very involved as a board member volunteering for a variety of committees such as Governance, Special Education Advisory (SEAC), Finance, Director Performance Appraisal, hiring of Director of Education, incident reporting, strategic planning, technology, communications, code of conduct, and expulsions, to name a few. Provincially, Donna a board member of Ontario Public School Board Association and a member of its Policy & Development Committee.
Donna became a member of the Provincial Accessibility K-12 Education Standards Development Committee (SDC) in 2017. The K-12 SDC submitted its final report of recommendations to be considered in developing the accessible education standards to the Ministries of Seniors and Accessibility and Education in February 2022. Donna will continue to advocate provincially for the development and implementation of an Accessibility Education Standard.
Prior to becoming a Trustee, Donna was a member of the Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) for 10 years and the Chair of the Committee for 5 of those years. As Chair of SEAC, she had been a strong advocate for students with special needs and equity, making presentations to the Board of Trustees on issues such as Special Education Funding, budget, transportation, safety vests, etc. Donna was very involved in four School Community Councils, holding a variety of positions including Chair, Vice Chair, Treasurer, Secretary, and Fundraising.
Within the community, Donna was previously a Board member for the Community Living - Ajax, Pickering & Whitby Association, Special Olympics Ontario - Greater Durham Community Council, and the Durham Down
Syndrome Association. She is very involved with Special Olympics Ontario within her community and provincially as a coach for Rhythmic Gymnastics (RG) and RG Provincial Convener. Donna was the Head Coach of the Canadian Special Olympic Rhythmic Gymnastics Team that attended the 2019 World Games in Abu Dhabi, UAE, which brought home a record 32 medals.
Donna and her husband Dave have been married for 35 years and have 2 adult children with 2 different disabilities. They have lived in Ajax for 34 years. More
Dameon HALSTEADAbout Me:
We live in a first-world country and certainly, our education system should reflect that. For us to remain a first-world country, we need to have a first-class education system. When we build and maintain …a solid foundation for our education infrastructure, we are building a better country and a better quality of life for ourselves. Government, boards of education, community and staff must work hand in hand to reach that goal. We need to develop our communication, tolerance and be open to ideas of others to build a better and stronger education system.
Some of the major issues that need to be addressed urgently are:
1. MENTAL HEALTH
Children must be able to get the right support & resources that are needed for them to succeed. Help should be extended to the families as well. For it to work, the approach must be professional and holistic, and both must be given a fair chance. Children must have positive feedback. We should eliminate the negative connotation around mental health. Mental health hotlines should be utilized and kids should be encouraged to use them.
2. We must have resilient and adequate resources for students, family & staff.
3. We want to keep kids at school while ensuring their health and safety.
4. We need to ensure that there is greater accountability to parents, students and the community through transparent, proactive, responsible and reliable leadership that provides the necessary supervision and guidance.
5. We must improve the physical Infrastructure of our schools including addressing the need for proper and modern HVAC systems and proper ventilation More
John INGOLDAbout Me:
I have lived in Ajax for 30+ years, with a career as a chartered accountant and consultant, focused on managing risk, improving governance and challenge. My wife works as an elementary teacher at DDSB …for 20+ years and together we raised 4 children through Grade 12 with the DDSB. One is now a public high school teacher. I've become a grandfather for the second time this year.
I've been active in the local youth community including 10+ years with Scouts Canada and 5+ years in youth soccer.
I'm running to keep kids safe, including addressing cyber security, climate change and to improve risk management and governance across DDSB. More
Kelly MILLERElectedAbout Me:
Hello community of Ajax, I am a passionate Educator as well as a Facilitator for mental health support programs. A resident of Ajax for 15+ years seeing its beautiful expansion.
I have extensive …knowledge and experience working with children in a variety of settings including schools, youth residential treatment facilities, and the Learning Disability Association of Toronto, supplying youth with academic and social support. Most recently, as a behavioral therapist with specialized training in developmental learning disorders.
I hold a Master of Education in Social Equity Studies in Education from the University of Toronto. My experience and understanding of Equity in education are why I am a strong advocate. I believe that equitable and high-quality education is the right of all students who are the future leaders of our great city.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has allowed us as a community to value our connections and build bridges across different areas, gaps still need to be fixed in our education sector.
Going into the new school term in a post-pandemic climate, we can expect a shift in the well-being of students, our teaching staff, and teaching models. It is not enough to expand our communication. We need to make room:
• Make room to grow our compassion and thoughtfully consider our present changes and the impact these changes will have on our schools. It will take a new set of eyes, new skills, and creative approaches to handle them effectively
• Make room for growth -this looks like, more support for all students, and educational professionals, learning new skills, and collaborating more with the community at large
As your advocate, I will collaborate with you to make sure your views and opinions are heard. I will bring my skills, experience, and creative approaches to challenges.
As your elected candidate, I will advocate for the requirement of sufficient resources to make inclusive and high-quality education a key priority.
I thank you in advance for your support on October 17th-24th.
I will be your voice of change. I'm ready to lead. More
Avril ROWEAbout Me:
Avril has lived in Ajax with her family for the past 6 years. As a current DDSB parent, she has the privilege and intimate understanding of how policy impacts our students here and now. She recognizes …the different voices that play a part in setting the conditions that will provide a high-quality education for every student to reach their full potential in school and in life.
Avril graduated from University of Toronto with an Honours BA, political science specialist. She is currently an HR advisor in the public sector, working on equitable and inclusive staffing policies.
In her role as a community member looking to effect change, some of her volunteer work includes:
- School Community Council member
- DDSB Compendium of Action for Black Student Success Revision Committee
- Planning Committee for DBEN’s inaugural “And Still I Rise” Afrocentric Heritage Program
- Urban Alliance on Race Relations: Coalition for Racial Equity in Education (former parent advocate) More
Capucine SHEEHANAbout Me:
I think it safe to say that these past two years will go on record for many of us as the most disruptive we have ever experienced. Education and schooling in Ontario were profoundly affected.
We …had to change the way we worked and the way our children were taught without input from students, parents or educators and often on short notice.
The Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table findings suggest school closures impacted children’s academic achievement and lead to learning losses.
We now need to get our children's education back on track! The Minister of Education has pledged $26.6B in education investments. This Plan to Catch UP will:
• Provide a province wide tutoring program
• Modernize curriculum with coding, financial literacy with a renewed focus on science, technology, engineering and math
• Hire 3,000 more staff
• Build new schools, renovate and upgrade ventilation
• Provide Student mental health supports
• Provide Supports for special education
• Support parent choice with the option of remote learning
• Provide over $1.6B directly to parents to offset the costs of online learning and child care
As an elected trustee I will be your link to the DDSB, to address your concerns, to serve the interests of students and families and to hold the Director of Education to the pledged $26.6B in investments in the Province's Plan to Catch Up.
Capucine believes that education is a fundamental right which includes the right to attend school and to have education delivered to the student in a way that allows them the opportunity to reach their full potential.
Capucine supports the authority of parents over the education of their children. She believes elected politicians and board trustees should be transparent and accountable to the public.
As a mother of an adult daughter with a learning disability, she knows what it's like to fight for her child's needs. With grace and determination she ensured her daughter was not marginalized nor bullied. It is every parents desire for their child to reach their full potential.
• Born and raised in Ajax
• Educated within the Durham district school board, in Ajax
• Earned her Bachelor of Science Hon. specializing in Molecular Genetics and Molecular Biology from the University of Toronto
• Contributed to Cancer Research at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre through published works
• Holds a team leadership position within the Energy Sector More
Waqqas SYEDAbout Me:
My name is Waqqas Syed and I am your candidate for the position of Trustee from the town of Ajax. Ajax has been my home for the past 22 years. I have spent 14 years working for the Durham Board of Education, …collaborating closely with educators, parents and students, which has helped me develop a comprehensive understanding of the challenges and concerns surrounding our education system. My passion for understanding and improving the education system motivated me to obtain a Diploma in School Board Administration from the University of Guelph.
My number one priority as a Trustee is to ensure students success. I am dedicated to building a better future for students and have arranged youth programs, and professional development workshops to foster success. A critical element of facilitating student success is to provide a healthy and safe environment free from bullying. Additionally, I believe it is critical to implement input from parents and help our educators to tackle their issues and further enable student success. Finally, we must ensure opportunities for success are in place for special needs students. Special needs students are very close to our hearts and I have felt the pain and sufferings of these special ones.
In addition to my background and experience in education, I have been greatly involved in various community services, such as hosting food and clothing drives for donations, raising funds for Ajax hospital, and providing programs for seniors and families, alongside many other services. More
Brock, Uxbridge, ScugogNumber of Available Seats: 1
OshawaNumber of Available Seats: 3
Elizabeth JAMISCHAKAbout Me:
I would be honoured to be elected as an Oshawa Trustee for the DDSB. I am not running with an agenda to dismantle the system or advance a specific ideology. I am running because I believe our kids deserve …an education that teaches them core academic skills that will equip them in their jobs and careers and an education which teaches them to think critically and logically to make wise life choices. As Martin Luther King Jr stated, ‘education needs to help kids and youth develop both intelligence and character’.
I have sat on several boards across Durham and am not afraid to ask the tough, and sometimes uncomfortable, questions to ensure all sides of an issue are given proper consideration (regardless of whether I personally agree with the issue being discussed). I don’t pretend to know all the answers however, I can promise that I will ask the tough and uncomfortable questions when required.
By being willing to listen, to question the status quo and have respectful discussions with people that hold different views, values and opinions, we will be in a better place to make wise choices at-present and for future generations.
I genuinely care about the well-being of our youth and kids however being a trustee is not all about me, its about your kids. Therefore, please choose the candidates who will put the education of your kids first.
Some accomplishments in my role as a Board Director include:
• Served as President & Chair of non-profit organization with a $6M budget and successfully led the Board through multiple high-risk crises.
• Served as Governance Committee and Finance Committee Chair.
• Analyzed and researched governance practices and organizational structure for a non-profit organization. Provided an in-depth report outlining recommendations for organizational structure, bylaws, policies, Board structure and governance best practices.
• Oversaw the review and creation of policies and procedures to ensure organizational compliance.
• Implemented streamlined program reports and agenda format to ensure Board of Directors receive relevant information in a timely manner.
• Oversaw and advised on the development of a Board Recruitment & Development Strategy.
• Developed a Risk Management Strategy and Risk Register to identify and mitigate risks.
• Standardized Board processes and internal documentation management.
• Coached staff and team of Board of Directors, nurturing trust, transparency, individual and team accountability.
• Led the development of a comprehensive Executive Director Recruitment Strategy including creating a skills matrix, updating the interview structure and establishing a deliberation process to increase transparency and accountability and eliminate bias through the process.
• Successfully implemented a Communication Plan to increase transparency, accountability and trust between staff and the Board of Directors.
• Prepared and delivered speeches at various events including Galas, Annual General Meetings and as a candidate for municipal office. More
James LEVENTAKISAbout Me:
I am a Christian, a husband, and a father, and an accountant. I am a lifelong resident of Oshawa.
If elected, my objectives are to :
1. Ensure students interests and safety are at top of …mind.
2. Ensure the students, parents and teachers are free to express their values and be heard by the board.
3. End divisive policies and ensure all students are treated equally.
4. Ensure parents are not kept in the dark about what is happening/being taught to children in school.
I believe sex education should be taught at home by parents, eliminating risk of bias being pushed on to students.
Teachers spend more hours with children from Monday to Friday than parents, and have a huge impact on their formative years. I want to ensure that parents are made aware and have choice as to what their children are exposed to.
My wife and I currently donate two scholarships annually to graduating high schools students in Oshawa that are entering post-secondary training, and if elected, 100% of the proceeds from the trustee position will go to expand the scholarship program to ensure that more deserving students can go on to further their education. More
Dean LINDSAYAbout Me:
Dean lives and works in Oshawa, as a father and grandfather, he understands the needs of the education system.
Dean worked for many years at the GM plant. He was elected to several positions within …the union. Through his work with the union, he developed his interpersonal skills as an effective listener and communicator. He gained experience in negotiations, mediation, and conflict resolution. Over the years he has successfully completed courses in workplace health and safety, human rights and most importantly equity and diversity training. Knowledge and skills which will be an asset as a School Board Trustee.
Dean attended Durham College where he successful completed the Paralegal Graduate Certificate program. He is a member of the Law Society of Ontario.
Dean understands the role of Boards and governance. He was a Director with the Autoworkers Community Credit Union, now Pathwise CU.
Dean has been involved in the community and served as a member of the Oshawa Active Transportation Advisory Committee.
Dean will be a strong voice for the community as a School Board Trustee. More
Sindiswa MOYOAbout Me:
Making a Difference!
Hi! My name is Sindiswa Moyo and it will be my honor to serve you as your elected Durham District School Board Trustee, Oshawa. I believe together, we can make a difference. …With over 10 years of working in the Municipal and Provincial governments as a champion of good governance, fiscal responsibility, and integrity, as well as advocating for changes on behalf of the community. I intend to put the same energy and heart into establishing strong foundations for student achievement and well-being. More
Shailene PANYLOElectedAbout Me:
Hello, Oshawa! I'm Shailene [Shay-Leen], one of your DDSB Trustee candidates. You may recognize me from the last two federal elections, and I'm proud to have the chance to continue to build on the movement …for better that we started!
My priorities for our schools are based on my own experiences as a previous DDSB student. Having navigated severe bullying, racism, and harassment in elementary school, I began my work to be part of the change while in high school.
Now, I want to ensure that no other student, educator, education worker, or family has to endure what I did, especially as we navigate this phase of COVID-19-induced changes.
With your support, I look forward to serving our community, and ensuring an inclusive, accountable education experience for all. More
Linda STONEElectedAbout Me:
Hello, thank you for your interest in the upcoming trustee elections. I have 6 years of experience as a trustee with the Durham District School Board and I’m ready to work hard for parents and students …over the next four years. The following will give you an idea of what I stand for and what I will advocate for as a trustee. There are 11 trustees at the DDSB and I believe in transparency and honest open discussion, sharing diverse views and opinions which contribute to trustees making the best possible decisions for students, teachers and staff.
1. Mental Health and Wellbeing are top of the list as we know that more than ever students and staff are struggling with mental health issues partly due to the last couple of years. It’s been stressful on most of us but especially those in the classroom. We must make sure supports are available for them and I support hiring more social workers, psychologists, educational assistants and early childhood educators. Teachers and students need the extra support in the classroom in order that all students are reached.
2. Student achievement – having supports in the classroom will help with student achievement as well as making sure that students have equitable opportunity to succeed especially struggling with mental health, poverty, and special education needs. We must make sure that students are given the opportunity to achieve to the best of their ability
3. I believe we need more information for parents and students on the detrimental affects of social media, lack of sleep and I would support policies to remove phones from the classroom.
4. Trustees must ensure effective stewardship of their board’s budget. Spending must be done with students in mind and tax dollars should be directed where they most benefit them and assist teachers in making sure they can reach all students.
5. Promoting parent concerns and bringing their voices to the board and encouraging parent and community involvement in matters that affect students.
6. Create an environment where students and staff see themselves reflected and represented in education as a whole.
7. Work toward making sure schools are safe for all students and staff and where they feel welcome, trusted, and confident. Where staff feel they can speak without being bullied or have fear of repercussions for voicing an opinion. Where open, honest, and diverse conversations are welcome.
8. Encourage the voices of parents with special needs children and to listen what the needs of their children are and to implement policies and supports so they can achieve to the best of their abilities.
A good, stable education makes the difference for children in their future and in the future of our society. It is our responsibility to make sure children thrive in a setting that sets them up for a more productive life, a more fulfilled life where they can integrate more easily, contribute and be proud of their accomplishments. More
PickeringNumber of Available Seats: 2
Sherry CROTEAUAbout Me:
Schools are the foundation upon which we build the future. As a former Trustee I have the experience to hit the ground running and ensure that Pickering students get the very best of what public education …has to offer. Engagement with parents, grandparents and school community councils is a high priority for me and helps to shed light on inequities in our system. Please vote Sherry Croteau on October 24th, because experience matters! More
Emma CUNNINGHAMElectedAbout Me:
Emma Cunningham is a mom of two. She is a communications professional who cuts straight to the point. She doesn’t just look at behaviour, she looks at the why behind it, because analyzing the why is what …helps enact change.
She is a proud supporter of teachers and has spent time as an ally on the picket lines. She’s also a dedicated member of Pickering’s community and spends a lot of time volunteering.
Emma’s candidacy is endorsed by ETFO, OSSTF, Durham Region Labour Council, Pickering-Uxbridge MP Jennifer O’Connell, and two local councillors.
If elected, she will:
- Fiercely advocate for your child’s right to learn and succeed
- Plan new school builds in conjunction with City Council reflecting population growth in Pickering
- Ensure wealth distribution of school council funding so no child goes without resources
- Increase transparency and accountability More
Michelle LEONG FRANCISAbout Me:
Mother, wife, advocate and by any other name Michelle is an inspirational business leader.
A practioner in HR Law, Professor Francis enters every classroom with an array of tools; cross cultural …counselling, crisis intervention and the Rolls-Royce of equity and diversity – Cultural Intelligence, allowing her to mediate everyday challenges from an inclusively informed lens.
Twice endorsed, this DDSB Trustee candidate has been a resident of Pickering for over 20 years, alongside her partner has raised a family; natural and foster and a community spirit with volunteerism at its foundation and way of life.
Michelle has been a voice in her community as President, Durham Family Court Clinic and Chair Neighbourhood Watch Chair, advocating for child well-being and easing the burden of families like the Maillet's. Michelle's skill, experience at Queens Park and know-how to listen to constituents concerns and translate them into meaning for the board goes unmatched. More
Stephen LINTONElectedAbout Me:
My name is Stephen Linton, and I am honored to be running for Durham District School Board Trustee Pickering. I live with my wife and two children in Pickering. My son is enrolled in the Catholic School …Board and my daughter just graduated from the Public School Board.
With over 15 years of work within the Community Development sector I have proven experience actively listening to the community and advocating for changes that meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.I have dedicated 15 years of my career to Community Development, including working for the Toronto District School Board, The City of Toronto (Social Development, Shelter Support and Employment & Social Services) and Metrolinx.
Pickering is rapidly growing with new residents, new transit options and new housing developments. These changes have highlighted a growing gap between dated policies, procedures and practices and our evolving communities. More
WhitbyNumber of Available Seats: 3
Tracy BROWNElectedAbout Me:
I am the proud mother of two boys, Aaron, and Josiah, both graduates of the Durham District School Board. I am also very proud to be an honorary mother to many children in Whitby and across Durham. As …we all know, it takes a village to raise our children, and our children are our most precious commodities.
For many years I have been an advocate for quality education for the Whitby parents, and as a School Board Trustee, I will continue to be your voice. From learned experiences, I have a solid understanding of navigating the school, college, and university systems (I am a great researcher, and I ask a lot of questions.)
Our children and their families face many obstacles and challenges within the school environment, both in the classrooms and outside. I am committed to being a strong supporter of our children, young adults, and parents in my community. I consulted with DDSB and contributed to the Draft Human Rights Policy as our children need us to speak up, ask questions, follow through and be accountable for School Board actions, and generally be good people regardless of culture, religion, gender, or orientation.
As a School Board Trustee, I will continuously engage with and gather feedback from all members of my community to enhance public confidence.
I will ensure that my constituents' voices parents, students and all others are consistently heard at the Board table.
I will advocate for the well-being and mental health of our students, staff, and teachers and be a strong supporter and effective voice for our community.
Lastly, I am a champion of good governance. Best practice, integrity, accountability, fiscal responsibility, and transparency – I know how crucial these values are when establishing policy direction that supports both short and long-term goals for student excellence.
I hope I've earned your trust and endorsement in this election. I'm excited to move forward together to build a bright future for the children and young adults in our community. More
Melike CEYLAN-LEAMENAbout Me:
Whitby resident for 20 years, I am an active community volunteer and have volunteered with several charitable & non-profit community organizations. Recently I was CareMongers co-captain for Brooklin, ensuring …that the most vulnerable in our society received assistance during the Pandemic, and currently serve as Board Secretary for Epilepsy Durham Region. Long-time advocate for women in technology and encouraging girls to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, I hold a Science degree from the University of Alberta and a Masters degree from York University. With over 22 years of experience in the IT industry, I know what it takes to succeed in a hyper-competitive world and the critical importance of solid public education.
The primary reason why I am running is that as a mother with 2 children in DDSB for the past 14 years, one neurodiverse, I know firsthand how important it is to have a strong, open and collaborative relationship with Teachers, Staff, Trustees and the Board. I want to share my experiences to foster a positive and inclusive environment for all parents and teachers by ensuring all stakeholders, including medical and community organizations, are included in developing programs for students. For example, as a volunteer and Board Member of Epilepsy Durham Region (EDR), I have helped in developing sessions hosted in schools to educate students and teachers on Epilepsy. I have also consulted with EDR to assist other parents who have children struggling in school to ensure that they are aware of available programs and supports through the Board. I have lobbied local politicians for supports (Local, Provincial and Federal), created a policy for Neurodiversity, and have advocated in the media to draw attention to where supports were cut due to Provincial direction.
My priorities as DDSB Trustee:
- Establish a strong culture of educational excellence, create a diverse and inclusive learning environment, ensure access to education for all students and programs to meet the individual needs of students
- Prioritize the safety of Staff and students
- Enhanced and expanded Mental Health supports for teachers and staff
- Provide a safe and open space for dialogue and discussion to ensure that students, parents, teachers and staff’s concerns are heard and actioned to the best of the Board’s ability
- To attract and retain talent and provide modern technology and teaching aids and encourage teachers to have input into programs to distinguish DDSB from other Boards and other employment opportunities More
Akuah FREMPONGAbout Me:
Akuah Frempong has lived in Whitby for over 10 years. A graduate of J. Clarke Richardson Collegiate, during her high school years she thrived in a DDSB school filled with programming, opportunities, and …experiences with the support of her teachers. After obtaining a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a Master of Management of Applied Science, Specializing in Global Health Systems in Africa, Akuah returned to Whitby and now works as a healthcare coordinator for a homeless health organization. Akuah wants to ensure that all students in the DDSB have an equitable educational experience. More
John WAKELINAbout Me:
After graduate studies in politics, I completed my law degree. I’ve been a Whitby resident for 25 years. My children were educated in Whitby’s public school system. I’m a husband, father, local business …owner and employer.
Running for public office was not something I ever expected to do. But too many people I meet express concern about the state of education in Ontario. I will be their advocate.
There is a sense among many of us that our education system may have an “agenda” beyond teaching our kids the academic subject matter they will need to excel vocationally.
The law requires the DDSB to promote a “positive school climate” that is “inclusive and accepting” of all pupils. I agree. But the DDSB has interpreted this as mandating that they monitor and train teachers and students in a U.S. based approach to “diversity, equity and inclusion”. Many teachers, parents and residents have expressed serious concerns about the Board’s approach. Many teachers are afraid to speak out against such policies even though they may disagree with them or feel they are in fact divisive. Many parents feel that the policies of the DDSB have become inherently ideological and political, but their concerns are met with denial by some in the school system.
My message is that the citizens decide what is or isn’t “political” not the teacher’s unions or the school board.
Exclusion or lack of acceptance scars children. We all know this. But how we create an “inclusive and accepting” school climate is something best decided by Whitby parents, and not by reference to American education policy fads.
Inclusion may be best served by promoting affiliation, teamwork and belonging among individuals with different backgrounds, rather than by training children to focus on differences.
I believe that children of all backgrounds or identities should be taught in an environment that presumes acceptance, while continuing to protect all kids from bullying (including online).
Levelling the playing field in society can best be achieved by testing and discovering excellence early, unlocking and facilitating our kids’ talents, and creating pathways for them to connect with the networks they will need to succeed vocationally. Children living in challenging family circumstances should have the same shot at high vocational achievement as those more fortunate.
I believe that armed with self-discipline and an excellent education (which Whitby teachers already deliver), no barrier or obstacle will ever stop our kids from achieving their goals. Suggesting the contrary to any child is abusive and counterproductive.
Teachers should be teaching core vocational skills training. They should not be training kids to adopt the Board’s or their own personal values, views or politics. Those topics should be discussed at home not in school. They are none of the school board’s business.
I believe our schools have been inclusive and accepting for many years despite, not because of, the Board’s policies. I believe that teachers in Ontario generally need better protection from politically minded administrations, unions and boards. Among their colleagues or online, teachers should be free to speak out against bad ideas and express their own views without fear of reprisals. Teachers must be safely allowed to blow the whistle on policies or practices they feel are harmful to our kids.
And I believe that a majority of our students, parents and teachers would agree.
School is a place for learning the skills of tomorrow, not about obsessing over politics.
Families are free to teach their kids their own values and narratives. At home. School should always be a “no politics” environment.
I will keep an open mind. I want to hear from teachers and parents. I want to discuss how to find and improve the trajectory of all the promising kids who are dealing with challenging circumstances. I want to match kids with behavioural challenges with talented strong teachers with a gift for understanding, handling, and reaching them. I want to ensure that kids with special needs don’t get written off but get more attention to core academic and vocational training to achieve their best. I want more attention on core financial aptitudes and an elevation of skilled trades preparation (including basic small business education). I want to help high achievers from all backgrounds get an equal shot at success as they all deserve.
I am offering to provide scrutiny and reassurance that our schools are teaching their kids the core subject matter that they need to succeed, in an environment that promotes optimism, and tacitly expects togetherness, tolerance and acceptance (without the need for politics!).
I have spent decades acting on behalf of clients in court. I would now like to represent all of you within the School Board. For those who have concerns I will be your advocate within the education system. More