St. Marys Journal Argus
The Oct. 27 municipal election will bring about the departure from the Huron-Perth Catholic District School Board of its longest-serving trustee. Ron Marcy of Stratford is stepping down after 40 years on the board.
And, if Sebringville-area farmer Teresa Ann De Wetering is able to secure enough support among Catholic school supporters in Perth South, West Perth and St. Marys, the board could also lose its second longest-serving trustee.
De Wetering is challenging incumbent trustee Bernard Murray, a semi-retired farmer who lived for most of his 26 years with the board on the family farm in the Gore of Downie, but now resides in Stratford.
“I’ve thought about (seeking a trustee position) for a good year now,” De Wetering told the Journal Argus last week. “I would like to be a strong voice for our Catholic separate schools in the years to come.”
A one-time information technology (IT) professional who gave up a career to come back to her home school district and farm with her husband, De Wetering says she respects Murray’s long years of service to the board, and even welcomes the opportunity to learn from him. But she adds she felt “called” to put her name forward for election.
“I want to give back . . . and I want to specifically work with our school in these times that are both exciting and challenging, as our society becomes more secular.”
Murray, meanwhile, told the Journal Argus that, if elected, he expects this will be his final term in office. He was first elected to the board before there was provincial government funding for Catholic secondary education, and has played a role as high schools were created in both Perth and Huron Counties.
“I have the time to do some of the things that I love to do, including serving with the school board,” he said, referring to the fact he no longer farms full-time. Over the years, Murray has served as chair of the trustees for several one-year terms, and also spent several years participating in the leadership of the Ontario Catholic School Trustees Association. That included two years as Vice President and two more as President.
As the campaign for re-election begins, Murray hopes to remind voters about Marcy’s imminent departure, as well as a number of recent changeovers in senior administrative roles within the board. “It’s a small board (of trustees), with only five. It’s nice to have some continuation of some experienced members,” he said.