School trustees apply for re-election together
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Apr 04, 2014  |  Vote 0    0

School trustees apply for re-election together

Stratford Gazette

Chet Greason, cgreason@stratfordgazette.com

Stratford's two trustees on the Avon Maitland District School Board have both decided to run for their positions again.

Michael Bannerman and Alyson Kent filed the necessary papers to run for re-election together at Stratford City Hall on Thursday, April 3.

"We've done everything together. We're a good team," Bannerman said.

Why run again? Bannerman believes education is the foundation for societal change. Kent noted that schools are where our children are for the larger part of the day, so parental involvement is key. Both agree that their combined experiences would be an asset to the new board.

According to Bannerman and Kent, three trustees will not be running for re-election this year: Al Sygrove, board chair and trustee for Northwest Huron; Colleen Schenk, trustee for North Huron, Morris-Turnberry, and Howick; and Jenny Versteeg, trustee for North Perth.

Kent noted that, with three vacancies set to be filled, "We'll need some experience and consistency on the board."

Bannerman called their first term a "baptism by fire." The two first-time trustees faced the problematic issue of French immersion reform during their initial four years.

"I think we did OK, but it would've been better to have a few years under our belts," Bannerman said.

"It was definitely a challenging time," Kent added about the lengthy accommodation review, which ultimately led to some boundary adjustments and Anne Hathaway Public school becoming a dual track site.

"We've developed thicker skins. Next time, we'll be better prepared for a situation like that."

Bannerman said so much time was spent discussing French immersion that it left little time for much else.

"By the tail end, we had more time for other initiatives like mental health," he said, adding the board was able to hire a mental health lead in order to connect area schools with various services.

Kent said there's still a number of matters left to deal with, including the assurance that curriculum is being properly delivered in rural high schools in such subjects as tech, arts, music, and phys-ed.

She added she hopes the two trustees are afforded the opportunity to continue with these projects the board has been working on, and to see them though to their implementation.

"It's a great board. We worked really well together, especially when you look at something like the Toronto board," Bannerman added.

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