DPAC questions emailed to trustee candidates October 28th, at 8:30pm. Answers received from Sharel Warrington November 10th
1. What do you think is important to parents in the district?
As a parent it was important that my children were excited to go to school each day, that they looked forward to their academic challenges, the opportunities to participate in school sports and fine arts programs. It was important that they were supported by thoughtful and effective teachers, teachers who went that extra mile to ensure they knew each of my children and their needs. It was important that their teachers welcomed me into the conversation on how together we could make their education the best it could be. It was also important that there was a supportive, safe, caring and welcoming culture in each school my children attended.
I believe these are the areas of most importance to our parents. They rely on our teachers and schools to put their children’s interests and needs first. They are relying on our public education system to prepare and support their children to be responsible, thoughtful and engaged citizens with the skills and abilities to contribute to society.
2. Why are you running for trustee?
I am seeking re-election for a 4th term. During my nine years on the board, the past three as board chair and 30 years as an elementary and secondary teacher, I have acquired an in-depth working knowledge of the operation of the district. During these nine years I have committed to being a strong voice dedicated to addressing the needs of our students and our schools. Our schools have an increasing responsibility of addressing all areas of a childs development. I believe If we truly value “learning that enriches the life of each student” providing the resources and supports needed must be the number one priority of the district and board. We are responsible for ensuring our classrooms and schools are healthy, safe and responsive learning environments. We are responsible for providing equity of access to all programs and services for all students. There is unfinished work to be done and I am seeking re-election to be part of this work.
3. What have you done to prepare yourself for the role of trustee?
During my nine years on the board, I have committed to understanding the governance, stewardship and leadership responsibilities of being a trustee. These include knowing the responsibilities of school boards under the School Act and government legislation. as well as understanding the policies and operations of the district.
Understanding the role of trustee has required a commitment for research and thoughtful decision making. Understanding the operating challenges of the district, the growing complexities facing our classrooms and the needs of our students and employees are all aspects of being a trustee that I have invested my nine years in and will continue to do so.
Preparation for the role of trustee is ongoing. It is a professional journey, a personal and collective responsibility. As a trustee we are members of a team of eight including our superintendent. A team that needs to be cohesive and committed to keeping the focus of all district decision on the best interests of our students.
4. How will you ensure that the schools in this district are safe and caring places for all students?
As mentioned in the previous question, the responsibility of the board is to ensure all district decisions are in the best interests of our students. That includes safe and caring places for all students to learn and grow. While it is important to have policies in place, it is more important that as a district we focus on supporting practices in all our schools and classrooms that ensure healthy, safe, caring, inclusive and responsive learning environments.
5. How do you see your role as trustee in relation to the superintendent and staff?
The relationship between each trustee, the superintendent and staff must be one of respect and trust. Trustees need to understand their role in governing the district and the superintendents role in managing the operations of the district.
The board and the superintendent need to work together in a spirit of collaboration and cooperation. The work of the board, the superintendent and staff requires respecting the importance of confidentiality at the same time the need for transparency that allows open and responsible debate whether in committee or at the board table.
Trustees individually and the board collectively rely on the Superintendent and staff to keep them fully informed and to provide timely and professional advice that assists the board in making balanced and sustainable decisions. The key to the relationship between the board, its superintendent and staff is respect and trust, collaboration and teamwork. A team that is cohesive and respects its diverse talents and views, challenges the status quo, is open to new ideas and creates a win-win culture throughout the district. .
6. How will you demonstrate and communicate the accountability and transparency of the school board to parents and to the community?
Over the past nine years, each of the three boards have worked to improve both the accountability and transparency of the boards work. The relationship and communication between the board and partner groups has been a priority. The inclusion of partner representation on board committees, budget development and consultation all have improved. Is there more to be done? Definitely.
The future direction of the district through a strategic planning process has been started by the current board. This will involve the engagement of partner groups and community members. It is through this process that improved accountability and transparency may be achieved.
Informing the public and parents of the boards work also requires greater involvement of the media, our improved web site, school liaison representation at PAC’s and trustee involvement in the community initiatives and events.
The current board has worked on greater transparency at the board table. Trustees are encouraged to provide notice of motion on items they wish to have debated at the public table. This has allowed time for staff and trustees to research and to be informed on the issues and for trustees to be prepared to debate publicly.
Past boards have been criticized for lack of transparency and decisions made behind closed doors. While in camera meetings are needed for items required to be discussed in camera, your current board has worked to ensure more transparency at the public table. Regarding the availability of district information, all district public documents including board public documents should be easily accessed through the districts web site.
7. Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I have dedicated over 40 years in the service of this district as a teacher and as a trustee. Throughout that time I have been committed to moving our district forward and making a difference in the lives of our students. On November 15th, I ask your support to continue this important work. On November 15th re-elect Sharel Warrington