Guelph Board Trustee 2022 Guelph - Questionnaire

What position are you running for?

School board trustee

If running for school board trustee, which board are you running for?

Upper Grand District School Board – Ward 1 and 5

We will now ask you to list the top three reasons you are running in this municipal election. We would like you to break them into separate responses if you have more than one reason.

Please tell us the number one reason you are running in this election. 

Parents should be able to have an open dialogue with Trustees, without fear of being labeled or ostracized because their views don’t neatly align with those of the Board. I want MUCH better representation in the Board, and I want to foster a space where parents can express their opinions to the Board and be heard fairly and courteously.

As a parent, I tried desperately to advocate for my children in the UGDSB system when I became aware of concerning content being delivered in schools. I went through the proper channels, reached out to the people I was supposed to reach out to, and was ignored. The trustees did not respond to my inquiries. I don’t want other parents to go through what I went through. I don’t want to see other concerned parents ignored. 

Please tell us the number two reason you are running in this election.

I have a lot to bring to this table. I have 15 years relevant, practical experience in the school system, specializing in children’s mental health (in multiple school Boards, including the UGDSB). I have experience working with at risk and marginalized children. I have first-hand knowledge of the inner workings of classrooms, school administration, Board administration and unions. I am not here to tow the line or win any sort of popularity contest.  I am here to advocate for kids and their education.  Period.  I am not afraid to ask tough, uncomfortable questions and have tough, uncomfortable conversations.  

Please tell us the number three reason you are running in this election.

I want a balanced approach to education, without identity politics.  Parents want assurances their children can learn about the world they live in and begin to form their own independent opinions, without being influenced by the personal views of those teaching them or the school board.  Schools and school boards should ensure that any content presented which can reasonably be seen as “partisan” or “sensitive” – political views, racism or critical race theory, sexual health and gender theory, activism and/or social justice, for example – is age appropriate and offers a balanced account of opposing views. Single-sided partisan views and divisive identity politics must not be promoted to students, which includes encouraging students to support campaign groups promoting such views.

What do you want voters and the public to know about you?

My professional background is in education, specializing in children’s mental health.  I am a trained Child and Youth Care Worker with more than 15 years experience working with school boards and in schools.  I made my career advocating for youth of all ages and from all backgrounds, including indigenous and racialized communities, children with physical and mental developmental challenges and from traumatic circumstances.  

I understand the mental health impacts of school closures on kids and will do everything in my power to keep schools open to in-person learning.  

I believe in choice and personal autonomy.  It was wrong for the UGDSB to go above and beyond provincial requirements and mandate masks for JK and SK.  It was wrong for the UGDSB to go above and beyond and mandate a doctor’s note for mask exemptions, against the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health.  The choice to wear a mask or not should be that of the student and their parents – not the school board.  

I am an advocate for success and achievement for all students.  I support access to programming and support for all students.  I do not support or engage in identity politics or condone publicly funded school programs that exclude any student based on the colour of their skin, gender or socioeconomic status.  

I have experience negotiating tough issues and fighting for those I represent, whether it be negotiating contracts as Union Steward or debating fellow candidates in the 2019 federal election.  I do not shy away from difficult conversations and welcome the open, transparent exchange of diverse views.

What else would you like to share with CBC K-W about your candidacy?

I am a lifelong Guelph resident and proud graduate of the UGDSB, having attending Ottawa Crescent PS, King George PS and John F. Ross CVI.  I have a long-term, vested interest in the UGDSB; my own children and many nieces and nephews attend UGDSB schools.

I have decades of professional and personal experience advocating for the best interests of children and families.  I have fought vigorously for the rights of my children and I will fight just as hard for the rights of all students and families in the UGDSB.  Children are our most precious resource, our future.  Their school experience deserves to be the top priority of the Board, with clear guidelines and measurable goals.  And school boards need to be transparent and accountable, to parents and taxpayers. 

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