2018 Election

Near North District School Board

Headquarters: North Bay
Voting Regions: 5
Total Trustee Seats Available: 8

Zone 1: North Bay

Number of Available Seats: 4
  • Image of Jay ASPIN
    Jay ASPIN
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    About Me:

    Jay Aspin is the President of Aspin International Development Inc. a private consulting firm that assists businesses grow internationally. For the past four decades he has also committed himself to public life in his home town of North Bay. He served as a Trustee on two separate occasions for 7 terms, Councilor on North Bay City Council for eight terms. Recently he served as the federal Member of Parliament for Nipissing-Timiskaming region. His extensive experience has prompted leadership roles as the President of the Federation of Northern Ontario Municipalities (FONOM), president of the Northern Ontario School Trustees Association (NOSTA), Chair of the Near North District School Board and Chair of the Aerospace Caucus in the federal parliament of Canada.

    Mr Aspin is a graduate of the Near North District School Board and earned degrees in Mathematics and Economics from the University of Waterloo as well as certifications in international trade (CITP), economic development (EcD), management consulting (CMC), and board director's governance (ICD.D).


    Mr. Aspin has a burning passion for education and its importance. He seeks to rejoin the Near North District School Board with the primary goal of restoring the board's former stellar reputation of being one of the top school boards in Ontario to ensure students in the region are best equipped for the future. To achieve this goal, the key priorities of his platform are:

    1. Establish an effective Governing Model which must be fully understood and closely adhered to by the board of trustees and their administrative staff. Operating without a solid Governance Model or not in accordance with the model would be akin the building a house without a solid foundation. This is the root cause of the difficulties of the current board.

    2. Having developed a solid Governance Model, restore a culture of transparency, accountability and open communications internally and externally. The key premise behind this priority is restoring respect for all board employees and citizens of the public.

    3. Re-establish an effective Multi - Year Plan that will transform and elevate the system to a culture of excellence with everything it undertakes. The NNDSB certainly has the talented teachers and support staff to accomplish this. The establishment of a proper environment for them to flourish is vital for the students to become the major benefactors.

    Facebook: jayaspin or jayaspin4trustee

    Twitter: @jayaspin

  • Image of Donna BREAULT
    Donna BREAULT
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    About Me:

    I am a recently retired secondary school principal who worked for 30 years in the field of education in a variety of roles in both elementary and secondary schools. I am a long time resident of North Bay and my husband is a local business owner. My children are 23 and 19 years old, and are working and studying in North Bay. I care deeply about the future of education and it is imperative that students who attend schools in the Near North District School Board have opportunities that will allow them to be prepared to pursue post-secondary education or work. Fiscal accountability and transparency in terms of decision making are two areas that I would like to focus on as a trustee. I would also like to ensure that student programming and long term planning are at the forefront of the work of the trustee group so that situations like announcing the closure of Widdifield Secondary School and then announcing an extension of the closure date does not happen again due to reactive instead of proactive planning. Students, parents and staff deserve the best possible working environment possible within the Near North District School Board.

    My Facebook page is Breault for School Board Trustee.

  • Image of John DOBBS
    John DOBBS
    About Me:

    I feel that an important part of a healthy and vibrant community is the education system. I am not convinced that closing schools and shuffling students is the correct course of action, now or in the long term. I do not believe all is lost and improvements and changes can be made that will over time make the board the envy of the system in North. I believe I can help champion those improvements and changes. I have several years of experience with local boards and as a Councillor in West Nipissing. More

  • Image of Heather GARBUTT
    Heather GARBUTT
    About Me:

    A little about me

    I was raised in Sudbury and was afforded an excellent bilingual education through the Rainbow District School Board. I went on from there to pursue a degree in Fisheries Biology from the University of Guelph followed by a Graduate Diploma in Business Administration from Simon Fraser University. I am a career public servant with the last 15 years being spent with the Ministry of Transportation in North Bay in the Environmental Section. In my spare time, I play the violin with the North Bay Symphony Orchestra.

    My interest in NNDSB began with my 2 young children. Over the past 2 years I have been a vocal participant in NNDSB processes that will ultimately impact the future of our city's youth and determine whether they are ready or not for the next chapter of their educational careers. I am running on my belief that the decisions of the Near North District School Board need to be, first and foremost, student focused and that these decision processes need to be transparent and the board needs to be accountable and responsive to students and their families.

    With a group of like-minded colleagues, I participated in the recent accommodation review process with an eye for holding the current board to being accountable and transparent in their decision process. Ultimately, the decision to retain Chippewa Secondary School over Widdifield Secondary School that was made at a September 2017 meeting was never substantiated to the participants in the Accommodation Review Process. My first order of business as trustee will be to look at the justification behind this decision and ensure that it was based on sound financial and logistic rationale. By 2025 the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act requires all public establishments to be fully accessible and this will factor in to the review as a major cost implication. The current accessibility of the facilities in the Near North family of schools needs to be a key consideration in managing these assets.

    As a trustee I would like to work to develop a cooperative and synergistic relationship with municipal staff and elected officials toward mutually beneficial outcomes. Through early engagement on decisions impacting City of North Bay jurisdictional responsibility I believe this relationship could be improved to directly benefit our student's educational experience.

    A recent Globe and Mail article lists school boards within Ontario who will continue to teach the 2015 health education curriculum content. As trustee I would like to see the NNDSB added to this list. While controversial, the 2015 curriculum made great strides to ensure that our children would be safer. The 2015 curriculum also made great strides towards creating more inclusive school environments.

    Funding is not presently in place to redevelop Indigenous curriculum materials inspired by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. As trustee I would like to see NNDSB support teachers to continue to proactively seek partnerships with Indigenous community educators to bring cultural and historical learning into our classrooms.

    As trustee I would like to examine the resources available and the timeliness of access to supports for special needs students. I have heard from families and educators that these are not presently sufficient for the increasing needs of our students.

    During the 2017/2018 school year the NNDSB experienced shortages of supply and casual staff. As trustee I would like to examine the relationship of the NNDSB with casual staff to ensure that the board is leveraging the resources available to them and that casual staff are being treated as valuable members of the NNDSB family.

    Please share with me what is important to you!

    Facebook: @HeatherG4Trustee

    Twitter: HeatherG4Trustee

  • Image of April LEBLANC
    April LEBLANC
    About Me:

    I am a North Bay native who loves my community and cares deeply about public education. With over 20 years of finance experience, I bring the necessary business acumen to compliment the board of trustees. A group of trustees should bring a balance of expertise, experiences new and old, and the ability to listen and respect the voice of others.

    I am a mother and grandmother; through the years I have spent many hours at the kitchen table helping with homework and projects. I too have been frustrated with Math curriculum, standardized testing, and costs of school activities. It is extremely difficult to balance work, family life, kid's sports, and school work. Today's families are complex and so are the needs of their children; with. I felt the best way to affect change is to become part of the decision making team. I am a strong supporter of helping others have a voice and I can promise that I will be your loudest champion.

    My top three priorities are transparency, accountability, and fiscal responsibility. I plan to build a strong working relationship with the community by sharing information regarding decisions and the reasons behind them. Making changes to the existing communication policies by removing barriers will promote effective communication and build trust.

    I believe that all the parents, students, staff, and families of them are looking for a positive change. My fresh perspective and passion for public education will do just that. Vote for change, vote April in October!

  • Placeholder image of Frank O'HAGAN
    Frank O'HAGAN
  • Placeholder image of Louise SARGENT
    Louise SARGENT
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  • Image of Bill STEER
    Bill STEER
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    About Me:

    Bill Steer, (OCT), A.K.A. "Back Roads" Bill on the CBC and in Postmedia Network brings an education and business perspective as a trustee candidate. He was a former teacher with the Nipissing/Near North District School Board and transitioned to become the General Manager/Head Master of the Canadian Ecology Centre (as a teacher he founded the CEC concept), see (Meet the Staff tab), a leading environmental education centre; it is a NGO.

    He was one of the first male kindergarten teachers in the province and has been in both the elementary and secondary panels and a member of both federations. He continues (Summer 2018) to teach "at risk" students through the Ministry of Education's Dual Credit Program. He teaches part-time at the Schulich School of Education (Nipissing University) and Canadore College.

    He is vying for one of four English Public trustee candidate positions within the North Bay/West Nipissing area of the NNDSB. His school bus campaign pledge is "Students and Staff Matter." Based on four areas of interest: Communications with Parents, Education is community economic development, Equitable Funding for School Programs and Special Education Funding.

    Reach out to him through Facebook, or go to; or 705-840-0848.

Zone 3: Powassan

Number of Available Seats: 1
  • Placeholder image of Robert LEARN
    Robert LEARN
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Zone 5: Township of Perry

Number of Available Seats: 1
  • Placeholder image of Alan Charles BOTTOMLEY
    Alan Charles BOTTOMLEY
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Zone 2: Callander

Number of Available Seats: 1
  • Placeholder image of Greg BARNES
    Greg BARNES
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  • Placeholder image of Harry FRY
    Harry FRY

Zone 4: Parry Sound

Number of Available Seats: 1
  • Image of John COCHRANE
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    About Me:

    Thank you for the opportunity to share my experience and background. My wife Sandra and I moved to Parry Sound 4 years ago and since then have become increasingly involved in the local community, including the Parry Sound Curling Club. As well, we enjoy cottaging near Dunchurch.

    With respect to education, I have volunteered in a variety of positions in the educational sector for many years. This began when I was an active participant on parent - teacher councils when my daughters were in public and secondary school in Sudbury about 30 years ago. More recently, this summer marks the end of 12 years as a governor on the Cambrian College Board of Governors, on which I fulfilled a variety of roles including governor, Chair of the Audit and Finance Committee, and a term as Chair of the Board. The college had an annual budget of over $60 million and part of my role while the chair was negotiating with the then Minister and Ministry of Trades, Colleges and Universities.

    I was also a director with the Sudbury Credit Union for 10 years until my wife and I moved to Parry Sound in 2014. During my time on the board of directors, I was Chair of the Audit Committee for several years, the credit union has assets of over $400 million.

    Some of my other relevant related experience, which demonstrates by commitment to making a difference in the part of Ontario north of Toronto includes leading the team that established the Northern Diabetes Health Network: I worked closely with several physicians, a team of volunteer board members and Ministry of Health staff to create a novel approach to improving northern diabetic health care. I was elected President of the Northern Diabetes Health Network from 1993 to 1998 and I was appointed to Queen’s University Health Unit Policy Unit by the Ministry of Health from 1993 to 1997. I was awarded the President’s Award by the Ontario Medical Association in 1994, in recognition for my work on Northern Diabetes initiatives, and Northern Ontario health issues including physician retention in northern Ontario.

    I was also a FedNor Director, during which time I interacted with all levels of government, community and business leaders, to study and approve funding requests from various private industry initiatives in Northern Ontario, which included Parry Sound district. Lastly, I have been a Human Rights Commissioner, during which time I gained significant experience in human rights legislation.

    As you can see, through my positions, I have significant experience working with all levels of government and a strong financial background. I believe this experience positions me well as a Trustee on the Near North School Board to work with parents, teachers, politicians and the Ministry of Education in the best interest of our children’s education and to lobby to meet our local needs. I recognize that the sex ed curriculum is a topic of interest to many, I believe our children should be provided with healthy, age appropriate education that recognizes diversity and prepares them for our rapidly evolving digital world and the risks that are involved.

    If you have any questions or would like to talk to me about education in the Parry Sound district, please feel free to contact me.

  • Placeholder image of Howard WESLEY
    Howard WESLEY
    About Me:

    As the general manager for Georgian Bay Native Non-profit Homes and Parry Sound Non Profit Housing I understand aging buildings and limited funding. As a parent and the current SAC chair for McDougall Public School and a past SAC chair for Victory School, I can see how funding changes are impacting our area schools and programming. Our local plan to build a new K-8 school was changed midway into the construction of a smaller K-6 school with one smaller gym, while our older children were moved to the high school. We are struggling to meet compatible programming for our area students, we lack late bus transportation, and our children are left out of regional events, like the East West Hockey Tournament. I am posting information at and on twitter for your consideration (@howardwesley).

    I was honoured with the Order of Parry Sound in 2014 for my participation in community initiatives, including the revitalization of Mission Park and Booth Street Park, and Pitch In week. I helped organized a full school trip on the Island Queen and captained a dragon boat twice. I am also the area director of Crime Stoppers, sit on various community committees, and support neighbourhood projects.

    I feel it is time for the Near North District School Board to develop real partnerships with community groups to make sure community spaces remain available, like the Sound Community Hub. It is time we sit down and figure out how we get kids to the Stockey Centre for theatre classes, to the museum for local history classes, and how to use our combined efforts to build additional facilities, like a pool complex, and how to train our kids for local jobs. If elected, I would attend town council meetings and meet with local business leaders and groups to build the kind of programming and community our children deserve.

First Nations Trustee

  • Placeholder image of Nicole KING
    Nicole KING
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