Creating a safe and welcoming environment for all students and staff
Ensuring financially prudence
What do you think are the most important issues facing education?
Continuing to help our students catch up academically and socially after the past 2+ years of living through the COVID-19pandemic is certainly the most pressing issue. The threat of further disruption to our children's school experiences (including extracurricular activities) caused by labour disputes is something that I sincerely hope we can avoid.
We need to focus on creating an environment in our schools where all students are welcome, feel safe, and are primed for academic success. Ensuring that our education system keeps them up-to-date with technology and emerging trends, while building a strong foundational knowledge across all subjects. I am also an advocate for incorporating financial literacy, life skills, physical fitness, and mental health strategies into our children's education.
I believe it is important to keep politics out of our classrooms. There are many groups - on all sides of the political spectrum - wishing to push their agendas onto our students. I believe that a balanced, common sense-based approach that keeps the academic outcomes and the physical/spiritual/emotional health of our children as its focus is the context Board members and educators should hold.
WCDSB recently voted to fly the Pride flag during Pride month. What is your position on this?
I am absolutely in favour of the decision to fly the Pride flag during Pride month.
I believe that all students and staff, particularly those who identify within the LGBTQQIA2S+ community, should feel safe and respected within our school environments.
What is your position on representation of marginalized communities in library books that are available to K-12?
I would support efforts to increase the representation of marginalized communities in our libraries.
More perspectives, more voices, and more diverse representation in our library offerings should certainly be encouraged.
My personal belief is that we should embrace adding more diverse offerings rather than removing existing offerings that might not be considered diverse.
Is bullying still an issue in today's school environment? How do you think issues related to bullying should be approached?
Unfortunately, bullying continues to be an issue in today's school environment, both in school and after school hours primarily online.
I have members of my immediate and extended family that have been the victims of bullying within the school system. We were rather dissatisfied by the response of the schools involved when they were informed of the situation.
As a trustee, I would encourage the development of policies that empower schools to take a more active role in protecting the safety of our students and removing offenders if necessary.
How do you feel about teaching so-called "woke" ideology such as "white privilege" or Critical Race Theory?
Generally speaking, I hope to keep political agendas (from all sides of the political spectrum) out of our children's classrooms.
I believe it is important to teach about diverse points of view and the fact that not everyone has had the same experience or shares the same opinion on any matter.
But I have concerns with embedding concepts like "white privilege" and CRT into the curriculum.
I want a thoughtful, common sense-based approach to be how we set policies that impact our children, not the voices of loud special interest groups.
What do you feel about the removal of police officers from schools?
I want our children to have a positive view of our police forces.
They should see them as one of the important parts of society that help keep us safe and help in times of trouble.
Having them visit schools and help educate our kids is something that I would generally support.
I believe that age-appropriate conversations can happen around the fact that not everyone has the same point of view of the police or has had the same experience with them.
But I would not support an across the board removal of police from our schools.
How do you feel about the re-naming of schools?
The current trend towards the re-naming of schools (and other institutions) is not one that I support.
I have a history degree and have real concerns about the "erasing" of historical figures based on norms of today.
I absolutely support the teaching of both the positive and negative aspects of any individual's historical record and would be supportive of having informative plaques or other resources available to explain that some have a different point of view.
There may be exceptions where a newly discovered detail is so egregious that it would be inappropriate to name a school or building after that person, but generally speaking I am not in favour.
We've heard from parents and community partners that think there are many opportunities, whether indoor facilities, outdoor amenities, trails, etc. to unlock the potential of community space within schools and surrounding area to build stronger neighbourhoods. How do you think our school spaces could be utilized to strengthen our neighbourhoods and communities?
I would be very much in favour of developing partnerships to utilize school property as community space.
The fact that one of Cambridge's Idea Exchange locations is embedded into the St. Benedict High School building as its library was an excellent design plan.
Furthermore, the school's successful bid for the Aviva funding to create the "Heart of the Community" outdoor space was a great addition to the neighbourhood.
My experience with one of the Community Associations gave me exposure to the challenge in renting indoor school spaces, even in summer. This is certainly an area for improvement.
What do you think the role of a school board trustee is, and what attributes do you have to offer?
The role of a school board trustee is to help provide strategic direction for the WCDSB and make decisions on big picture issues for the Board.
The role of the trustees in day-to-day operations of the Board should be rather limited.
I believe that I bring my experience as both a parent and as the owner of a successful small business, along with my previous board experience, and an enthusiastic commitment to helping improve academic outcomes for our students.
What are your Top 3 Reasons for running for WCDSB trustee
I am passionate about the power of education and the impact it has on our future generations. Nothing is more important than setting up today's children for future success.
I believe in the Catholic education system. I am a graduate of it myself and it helped shape the person I am today. I was raised by two teachers in the Catholic system. My wife and I have two children who graduated from St. Benedict High School in Cambridge. I was pleased to be a part of the St. Benedict Parent Council during their time there.
I am excited for the opportunity to continue to give back to the community. I have been an active volunteer with several local charities and organizations, including my time as Board Chair for the Fiddlesticks Community Centre, and look forward to this next challenge.
Why should the community support you?
I have been a proud resident of Cambridge since 1999.
My wife and I launched a successful small business here, have been actively volunteering in a number of local charities and sports organizations, and raised two incredible children here.
I am passionate about the success of our community.
I am committed to improving educational outcomes for our students.
I will help create an environment that is welcoming and safe for all students and staff.
Finally, as someone who ran a successful small business, I will bring a different perspective to the Board and understand the critical importance of making appropriate financial decisions.