October 15, 2014

Trustee candidates promote student benefits

As published in The Erin Advocate

Candidates for school trustee positions showed their enthusiasm and shared details of their skills and experience with Erin voters at a meeting on October 8, hosted by Transition Erin.

For the English Public School Trustee position, incumbent Kathryn Cooper of Erin was in attendance, while Brandon Moyer of Guelph could not attend and submitted a statement that was read by moderator Jay Mowat.

For the English Separate School Trustee position, candidates Cassandra Chornoboy of Rockwood and Shaun Redmond of Guelph were on hand. None of the candidates attended for the French Public or French Separate Trustee positions – their contact information is available on the Town website.

Kathryn Cooper favours a whole child approach to education and stressed her role as an environmental trustee on the Upper Grand District School Board, bringing in reforms for “eco-efficient facilities” and a vision that “inspires students to lead with new and sustainable ways of thinking”.

The board’s new environmental policy includes sustainability plans by each school, affecting all areas of learning, administration and maintenance. Solar panels have been installed at 41 schools, including Brisbane and Erin Public, feeding power into the Hydro grid and generating revenue of $375,000 per year for the board – which has an overall budget of $351 million.

She is proud of investments totalling $9 million in East Wellington schools, including Full-Day Kindergarten and improvements to French Immersion, and about the agreement to resolve long-standing problems with the Shared Use Agreement at Centre 2000. She has helped parents organize their campaign for a Community Safety Zone at Brisbane.

Brandon Moyer works for Bell Technical Solutions and has done community service with St. John’s Ambulance, raising funds to fight leukemia and the Hillside Festival. He is running for trustee because, “Although we have a great education system, there are still gaps and areas that need attention.”

He believes many students are not well prepared for transitions, and that the prime role of education is to teach them the “basics to succeed in life”. He promises to bring parents concerns to the board “in an open and transparent manner”. He would “provide fiscal accountability and honesty”, and explore “new ways of making the curricula easier for students to learn”.

Cassandra Chornoboy is a recent graduate of the separate school system, now working as a program coordinator at the Agricultural Adaptation Council in Guelph. She was elected by her peers and served for two years as a Student Trustee on the Wellington Catholic District School Board.

“If we want the Catholic faith to be protected, we have to get the youth involved,” she said, adding that agriculture should play a larger role in student learning. She said when educational assistants are not available to help struggling students, peer help should be organized to supplement the funded programs.

Her other experiences include serving as the Erin Fall Fair Ambassador, being a 4H leader and being elected to the Operations Committee at St. Peter’s Church in Oustic.

Shaun Redmond worked 12 years for the Wellington Catholic District School Board in technology roles, and said his “deep understanding of the organizational processes, and the social and psychological aspects that influence them are the core of what I bring to the table.”

His top priority is promoting leadership among youth, and said it is important to identify student problems early, in order to help them succeed.

He has been president of the Ontario Catholic School Business Officials Association, been involved in the Sacred Heart Parish Community and served at the board level with the Wellington Catholic Parent Involvement Committee “to gain a broader perspective across schools and join forces for the betterment of parents through workshops and conferences.”