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 Jamie Pettit
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From: Monday, October 16, 2017 10:16 AM -0400
Subject:Local Government Week–Meet our Trustees
To:
October 15 – 21, 2017 is Local Government Week.  It is an opportunity to raise civic awareness amongst our youth and the public regarding the important role of locally elected government in our communities.  In Bluewater District School Board, we honour the occasion by recognizing the ongoing and vital work of our Board of Trustees.
Image of Bluewater District School Board logo embedded in outdoor brick wall at the BWDSB Education Centre in Chesley
About our Trustees:

School board trustees are the oldest form of elected representation in Ontario.  Since 1807, generations of community-minded citizens have made decisions on behalf of local, publicly funded schools, building the foundation of our system today.  The Board of Trustees sets our vision, develops policies, allocates resources, and sets the goals that lay the foundation that drives programs and operations in our board.  Collectively, they create our multi-year strategic plan for student achievement and well-being, and recruit and monitor the performance of the Director of Education to ensure our progress in meeting our goals.

As they enter the final year of their four-year mandate, Bluewater’s Board of Trustees continue to establish a legacy that will set the course for future success and sustainability in our local public education system for years to come.  Their track record of strong leadership, thoughtful decision-making, and a commitment to public, rural education is building our board’s capacity to meet the needs of over 16,000 students, 3,000 permanent and occasional staff, local families, and community partners.  

Bluewater trustees have demonstrated good governance over the past three years in multiple ways, including:
  • modelling effective district leadership through high expectations and accountability for themselves and senior staff by adhering to a clear code of conduct and by-laws;
  • upholding Bluewater’s vision, mission, and four strategic priorities through policy development and review that aligns with the provincial education mandate;
  • ensuring equitable access to learning and success for all students, especially those who are most vulnerable;
  • supporting student and staff well-being, as well as health and safety;
  • promoting Indigenous education (keeping our students and staff on “the good path”) and implementing many of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s education recommendations;
  • re-investment in school budgets and resources;
  • creating conditions that support high levels of achievement in literacy and mathematics;
  • fostering community partnerships;
  • passing balanced budgets (reducing deficits and building reserves);
  • advocating for outdoor education, technology and innovation, the arts, and other programming;
  • championing the student voice;
  • supporting parent engagement;
  • providing a voice for rural education;
  • strong provincial representation for Bluewater on the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association;
  • effective communication and promotion of quality education offered in Bluewater schools; and
  • managing the stewardship of publicly funded resources by aligning decisions to reduce liabilities and meet compliance obligations, which put Bluewater on a path to long-term financial stability and re-investment in our schools.
Learn more about the role of school board trustees.

Meet our Trustees:

Jim Dawson
Township of Southgate
Municipality of Grey Highlands

Image of Trustee Jim DawsonWhy did you want to become a school board trustee?
I believed that with my experience as a teacher and school administrator, I would be able to contribute in a positive way as a Bluewater District School Board trustee.  I have a depth of knowledge of public education, as well as experience serving in a leadership role on several community groups.  I have a passion for providing children with the skills, knowledge, and positive attitude to be successful adults.

What do you see as your most important role and/or responsibility as a Bluewater District School Board trustee?
Without a doubt, the most important responsibility is to provide the best possible educational experience for our students.  This involves oversight in several areas, including developing sound policies, responsible management of our finances, keeping up to date on current trends in education in Ontario and beyond, as well as serving on various board committees.  Being available to support parents, students, and staff, as they perform their respective roles, is another important and major responsibility of a trustee.

What do you want to achieve by the end of your four-year term?
By the end of this current term, I want to bring the board into a financially sound position.  Then, we can invest in programs and facilities to make Bluewater one of the best school boards in Ontario.  New and innovative programs that prepare students for the highly technical and rapidly changing world that they will be living in as adults is crucial for a successful board.  While providing state of the art facilities, equipment and delivering quality instruction, we can be confident that our children will be well prepared for the future.


Fran Morgan
Municipality of Meaford
Town of The Blue Mountains

Image of Trustee Fran MorganWhy did you want to become a school board trustee?
My family has be involved in local politics for several generations, and I personally feel that education is extremely important to our society.

What do you see as your most important role and/or responsibility as a Bluewater District School Board trustee?
My son Nic says, “WE HAVE WON THE LOTTERY!”, and in my estimation, he is right.  We were privileged enough to be born here or to immigrate to this country, with all the social resources Canada has.

Our children’s job is to go to school to absorb knowledge to the best of their ability. Children in other parts of the world have jobs as young as five or six, collecting water and wood, weaving rugs, looking after younger siblings or ailing relatives, and never have the opportunity to attend school.  Girls in many countries are not educated at all due to social or religious reasons.

It is therefore our responsibility to be fiscally responsible with the funds we are given to educate our children, to make sure that each and every one is given a fair division, so that their needs can be met and we allow them to be the very best that they can be.

What do you want to achieve by the end of your four-year term?
Fairness for all, I would consider a great achievement.


Marilyn McComb
Township of Georgian Bluffs
Township of Chatsworth

Image of Trustee Marilyn McCombWhy did you want to become a school board trustee?
Since the age of six years, I was involved in education...as a student, a teacher, a parent, and a grandparent.  In October 1997, I learned there was no one running for trustee in this area.  I did not want my area, which was then Derby, Sarawak, Keppel, Sullivan, Holland, Sydenham, and Chatsworth, to be without trustee representation.  So I filled in the nomination papers, and ran for trustee.

What do you see as your most important role and/or responsibility as a Bluewater District School Board trustee?
The most important role for me is to ensure the best education possible for every child in the Township of Georgian Bluffs and the Township of Chatsworth.

What do you want to achieve by the end of your four-year term?
I would like to have our Special Education funding fully restored, and an Educational Assistant available for each and every special needs student that requires one.


Ron Motz, Chair
Municipality of West Grey
Town of Hanover

Image of Chair Ron MotzWhy did you want to become a school board trustee?
I originally ran for trustee when my children were smaller and starting school.  It was a way for me to demonstrate to them the importance of education, and at the same time, become involved and contribute to my local community.

What do you see as your most important role and/or responsibility as a Bluewater District School Board trustee?
This would include matching the needs of all our rural students with the requirements of a provincially mandated funding formula, and creating an environment where the staff of Bluewater feel that their efforts are recognized and valued.

What do you want to achieve by the end of your four-year term?
My goal is that the Bluewater board be in a stable financial position so that the next board can start re-investing in resources to enhance the learning experience for our students, and the working conditions of our staff.


Dan Wong
Municipality of Brockton
Municipality of South Bruce

Image of Trustee Dan WongWhy did you want to become a school board trustee?
I have always been involved and interested in education as a parent chaperoning my children on many school trips, and as a parent volunteer.  I served many terms as SCC Chair for Brant Central, and also when Brant, Walkerton Public and WDSS amalgamated.  My wife has a long history as an elementary teacher with Bluewater, and my siblings are also educators at a different school board.  I was involved as Chair of the Walkerton ARCs both times, and also assisted our neighbouring board with their ARC.  I have always been involved with the community serving as Director on the Chamber of Commerce, and coached minor soccer for many years.  I view education as an important and crucial cornerstone of society, and it was only natural that I try to be involved at the school board level to ensure all students receive quality education, and Bluewater employees have a conducive environment to work in.

What do you see as your most important role and/or responsibility as a Bluewater District School Board trustee?
My personal opinion is that trustees need to be able to represent their constituents openly and honestly, and be their voice when there are concerns or problems.  There is a fine balance in being a trustee.  You have to support the board, but at the same time, you are elected to represent the school community and the constituents.  My personal position is skewed more to the side of supporting the constituents.  They need to have their voices heard and we need to address any concerns.

What do you want to achieve by the end of your four-year term?
My dream is a “holy grail”, and that is to address the issue of bullying.  This is a problem that is not unique to Bluewater, but is faced by all school boards.  I am passionate about ensuring that no Bluewater student is ever bullied.  Supporting policy development that addresses bullying and mental health programs and supports for both students and staff is important to me.  This includes ensuring adequate funds and resources are available in the area of mental health.  When not adequately addressed, it becomes a domino effect as we see students continue to struggle in post-secondary institutions where there are also little resources.  We need to continue to recognize and support students who have different learning styles and require different techniques to adjust.


Jane Thomson
Town of South Bruce Peninsula
Municipality of Northern Bruce Peninsula

Image of Trustee Jane ThomsonWhy did you want to become a school board trustee?
I have been committed to the well-being of children throughout my career as a social worker.  I became engaged in this education system through my daughters, who are now young adults.  I chose to become a trustee because I believe all students deserve a voice.

What do you see as your most important role and/or responsibility as a Bluewater District School Board trustee?
My most important responsibility as a trustee is to ethically carry out my duties to represent all students and families within Bluewater District School Board, while responsibly working within budget and financial constraints.

What do you want to achieve by the end of your four-year term?
By the end of my term, I hope I have achieved a greater understanding of the education system, both provincially and locally, so I may carry out my role more effectively.  In addition, I want to continue to feel confident that the difficult decisions I have made have been based on informed judgement.


Jan Johnstone, Vice-Chair
Municipality of Kincardine
Township of Huron-Kinloss

Image of Vice-Chair Jan JohnstoneWhy did you want to become a school board trustee?
It was my child and youth struggles through school that helped me develop a deep seeded desire to help kids through education.

What do you see as your most important role and/or responsibility as a Bluewater District School Board trustee?
This would be to advocate on behalf of the communities I represent for their unique needs in education, and encourage constituents to participate in the school system.

What do you want to achieve by the end of your four-year term?
A goal is that our board affirm we will build a new secondary school in the Kincardine area that will serve all the communities I represent.


David Mason  
Town of Saugeen Shores
Municipality of Arran-Elderslie

Image of Trustee David MasonWhy did you want to become a school board trustee?
I have had the pleasure of teaching and learning as a classroom teacher in both Manitoba and Ontario, an outdoor education teacher, a "shop" teacher, a resource teacher, and as a principal (in Manitoba) for eight years.  My academic background has been in the areas of Biology, Chemistry, Physics, and I hold a Master’s degree in Education.  The Universities of Brandon, Western and Queens enabled me to work with adult learners through long distance education.  On many levels, becoming a trustee was a natural extension of my interests and experiences in education over the past four decades.

As an educator, the cornerstones of my career have been innovation and creativity.  I have been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to share my ideas with a spectrum of folks within a number of environments.  The environments have included forums such as the World Gifted Conference, National Principal’s Conference, and the International Science Convention.  I have also been fortunate to have had nine articles published in various educational magazines and journals.  In many ways, becoming a trustee enables me to challenge the current educational system to consider change and innovation.

What do you see as your most important role and/or responsibility as a Bluewater District School Board trustee?
In my opinion, innovation will set the pace and tone of changes in education.  Virtual reality and artificial intelligence will combine with the internet to transform education as we know it today.  Artificial intelligence will enable each student to have their own private teacher.  Can you imagine?!  Virtual reality will enable students to travel through time and distance to experience living history, geography, science, math, and language.  Can you imagine?!  I hope that in my time as trustee, I will be able to expand the mindsets of the Bluewater educational system.

What do you want to achieve by the end of your four-year term?
My efforts have enabled Bluewater District School Board to challenge the OFSAA rules of how students are allowed or blocked from transferring between schools for athletics.  Similarly, my efforts have enabled the board to suggest to the Ministry of Education that an alternative model for Special Education be considered.  My interests in libraries of the future have stimulated conversations between the trustees and senior administration.  Currently, senior administration is generating a report on extending the Bluewater Outdoor Education Centre to include an experiential kindergarten classroom, allowing for the application of additional grants to support the site.  In addition, senior administration will generate a report on the mindset of establishing an “Innovation Budget” for all employees.  This “Innovation Budget” would provide funding for any employee who has an innovative idea that would further the system, or further the learning of students.  In my opinion, we need to reinforce the creativity, innovation and energy inherent in the folks who work on behalf of our students.

I look forward to working with students, parents, staff, trustees, and administration to further the learning experience and learning environment here in Bluewater.


Marg Gaviller
City of Owen Sound

Image of Trustee Marg GavillerWhy did you want to become a school board trustee?
I have always been interested in education with a desire to contribute to the board and to the community as a whole.  

What do you see as your most important role and/or responsibility as a Bluewater District School Board trustee?
It is important that we ensure that all the students in our district get the best education that we can provide.

What do you want to achieve by the end of your four-year term?
I would like to see further progress in the achievement of the education related Truth and Reconciliation calls to action.