August 19, 2022
On August 19th, 2022, I registered as a candidate in the October 24 2022 municipal election for HWDSB Ward 3 Trustee – a seat I held previously from 2014-2018.
My platform priorities and an official statement will be published soon.
Looking forward to hearing about your ideas, concerns, and feedback over the next couple of months.
February 9, 2022
On January 31st, I submitted a letter of intent to the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB), indicating my interest in filling the vacancy left by the resignation of Wards 1 & 2 Trustee Christine Bingham late 2021.
I was a Trustee with HWDSB from 2014-2018, but chose not to seek re-election due to some personal matters including planning for my wedding the following year.
I have stayed involved with my community and have continued to follow local education matters since stepping away from office, including helping my friend, Chris Parkinson, successfully win the 2018 election to fill the spot left vacant by my choosing to not run for re-election.
When Chris passed less than a year into office, given the chance I would have jumped right back into the role to fulfill the dreams he had for public education and our community as a while. The loss of someone who not only cared so much for student outcomes, but Hamilton as a while was devastating.
I have missed this work a great deal and still feel I have much to offer students, families, and educators within our school system.
Although I do not live within the Wards 1 & 2 boundaries, I do feel I am highly qualified and suited to fill this 8 month position. Being only 3 years removed from the role of elected school board Trustee, I would be able to get right down to work answering calls, emails, and assisting my Trustee colleagues with important committee work.
At a special board meeting on February 22nd at 5:30pm EST, the board will interview all 14 candidates. Each of us will have up to 5 minutes to answer the following questions, and then up to 2 minutes for closing remarks.
- Wards 1 and 2 share a Trustee but are unique communities. How will you utilize your own skills and experiences to effectively engage, advocate and represent the diverse constituents of Wards 1 & 2
- Within the remainder of the term, there is a lot of work being undertaken by the Board of Trustees. Where would you like to focus your time and energy to have the most impact? Consider how you will engage with our community advisory committees, Student Senate and your interest in supporting board committees.
Please find below, the full text of my letter of interest. As well, here is the link to the Feb 7th board agenda with a list of all 14 candidates vying for this critical community role. I wish them all the best. The board does not have an easy decision to make but in the end, it’s inspiring to see so many people eager to serve their community.
As well, here is a map I made of the schools within the Wards 1 & 2 catchment areas.
(Above: Map of Wards 1 & 2 that includes locations of all area schools, their catchment boundaries, and some current issues facing school communities are highlighted)
Letter of Interest for the Position of Wards 1 & 2 Trustee
Thank you all for the opportunity to apply for the vacant position of Wards 1 & 2 Trustee.
As a former Ward 3 Trustee from 2014-2018, many of my constituents attended schools within the Wards 1 & 2 boundary whether it was for elementary, secondary, specialized student services, or for French immersion programming.
With one of my schools also falling within the West Hamilton City Pupil Accommodation Review, I had the opportunity to get to know many Wards 1 & 2 schools through this process which would later include discussions around the community hub plan at SJAM, as well as introducing french immersion programming at Bennetto and any post PAR processes related to this move.
Other issues I was involved with included hydro upgrades adjacent to Dr. Davey, the debate about parents on the playground following the abduction at Earl Kitchener, to the issues with principal funding at Glenwood school which was one of the first facilities I toured as a new Trustee advocating for special needs programs and services.
Through these experiences, my step-daughter attended Earl Kitchener, and as a former Ward 1 resident, I have made many connections and am very familiar with the area. I have also lived in the lower city most of my adult life, and Hamilton as a whole for all but five years.
As a Trustee, I sat on many committees during my four years in this position including FNMI, SAL, and the IEC (Indigenous Education Circle) for which I still remain as a community member today.
Post elected life, I have had a lot of time to grow my learning and have read many books that discuss BIPOC and Jewish histories and experiences over the past few years so although I have never had formal EDI training, my committee work and continued personal development mean I am very familiar with the challenges our families struggle with every day. Phone calls, coffee chats, and one-on-one encounters in the community through my volunteer work, having run two campaigns for office both municipally and federally, and my four years of elected service have also helped open my mind to the gaps that exist across all equity seeking groups across all of our systems.
I imagine it is very likely that most if not all board and committee meetings will be remote for the remainder of this board which has also been the case for my current employment since the pandemic began. I am proficient with technology so that coupled with my previous board experience makes this transition back into this role a fairly smooth one. I have followed the issues closely these past few years; you can take the person out of the role but not the role out of the person.
With three children still active within HWDSB, as a hockey and baseball coach to many HWDSB kids, I care deeply about the outcomes of the children of Hamilton and especially about their mental and physical wellness through lockdowns and disconnections from their peers and the activities they are passionate about.
Aside from my previous board experience, I am employed by Cogeco Connexion and work in Ward 4 in Hamilton. I have been with Cogeco for nearly 24 years now and as part of my role as Fibre Network Administrator, I work with various internal departments and external partners as part of my position of overseeing the Ontario intercity fibre network. I also serve as a point of contact for these partners and support them in their requests to understand and access the information I am the steward of so working with people on a day-to-day basis is already part of my everyday life.
As a former Trustee, I realize the extra pressures put on those that take on this critical role within our community outside of their full-time employment and family responsibilities. You not only engage in two or three public meetings each month, but you also sit on committees, attend community events, spend countless hours reading over and commenting on materials that exec council prepare for you, work with your colleagues to put together notices of motion, deal with media and social criticisms, and basically fill a role similar to your full-time council counterparts. On top of that, you also have to answer your own phone calls and emails, follow up with staff, and track the process through to ensure, whether there was a resolution or not, that the result has been addressed back to your constituents. It’s a lot to take on but once a balance between all of these aspects of the role has been found, the work can be very rewarding and a great personal and professional experience.
In the community, I am a head coach at the Scott Park Baseball Association and the Hamilton Girls Hawks Hockey Association, as well as Managing Editor of The Point Community News. I also started a Halloween event for single families in 2014 so that they could have an opportunity to enjoy a Halloween-like event a week before Halloween when their parenting or work schedules would otherwise mean missing out on these memorable family moments. Many past and current Trustees have been a part of this event over the years as well.
In closing, you won’t just be getting past experience including previous connections to many Ward 1 & 2 schools, staff, and families, you would be welcoming someone with a real passion for this work – eager to advocate on behalf of the Ward 1 & 2 community and Hamilton students as a whole, and to build strong relationships with associated elected offices, school and exec staff, and my Trustee colleagues to ensure the best possible outcomes for our students and their families.
Thank you for your time.
Lives in Crown Point West, Ward 3