I grew up in Toronto, and am a product of our city’s public education system. From a young age, I loved school. I looked forward to September and felt sad when school was over in June! I loved school so much, in fact, that I didn’t leave until I had an undergraduate and two M.A. degrees. Today, I still walk into schools feeling excited and inspired!
As soon as my first child entered kindergarten in 2006, I became involved as a parent volunteer at her school, Northlea Elementary and Middle School, helping to oversee the planning of a new playground. That first project led to my last 12 years of involvement in a variety of roles as an advocate and volunteer in public education.
During that time, I have had the pleasure of working with wonderful staff, teachers, administrators, TDSB trustees and superintendents, and so many school families. I have helped to run staff appreciation events, fundraisers, and community events, I have served as a member of the Safe and Caring Schools Committee and the Full Day Kindergarten Committee, and also as communications chair, and a co-chair of the Northlea School Council and the Northlea Home and School Association. Each of these roles gave me a wealth of experience, exposed me to the varying concerns of parents, teachers and administrators, and taught me the value and importance of working collaboratively with our community and government partners.
Safety has always been one of my chief concerns. Toronto is a busy city, and cars and traffic in Don Valley West make getting to school safely a challenge for all families. As one of the co-chairs of Northlea’s Parent Council, I worked with a variety of community partners, including Green Communities Canada, Toronto Police Services, the City of Toronto (including Toronto Public Health), and TDSB staff to create a safe travel plan for our school.
I have also spent considerable time advocating for strong community schools. With the city’s plan for intensification throughout Don Valley West, we need to ensure that our children can go to school in their own communities, that they can get there safely, and that the schools themselves are modernized and in good repair. To this end, I have been working hard to promote both proactive planning in our ward to enable development and school infrastructure to go forward hand in hand, and for reforms to the legislation concerning Economic Development Charges (EDCs). Over the last several years, I have lobbied at the local and the provincial level, as well as delegated at the TDSB to make our board eligible to collect EDCs and to change how these monies can be applied.
Most of all, as a parent and as a member of this community, I want ALL children to have the very same feeling when they walk through the doors of their school that I had as a little girl and still have today. As a mother of three girls in the Toronto District School Board – one in elementary school, another in middle school, and the oldest now midway through high school — I not only have a personal stake in our public education system, I also have a strong appreciation for how important our schools are in preparing our city’s children for their future. As your trustee, I will work as hard as I can to provide our children with a school system that will not just meet their needs, but inspire them to become the very best they can be.
Over the next few months, I intend to meet with as many of you as possible — parents, educators and community members from across our community — to learn about what matters to you and how you believe I can best contribute. I will be setting up group meetings as well as smaller discussions. I will be more than happy to hear from you too. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have a few minutes to connect.