I am very excited to take part in this year’s election for public school board trustee.
Leadership in education is vitally important for young people–they are our future. I retired a number of years ago from a rewarding career in health care but continue to have the time, energy, and skills to add value to our community.
For those reasons, I have chosen to pursue this role as a new stage in my long résumé of public service.
I have lived my entire life in Rainy River District. My own education here started in a schoolhouse near North Branch and eventually led me to the school of nursing at La Verendrye General Hospital, where I graduated at the top of my class and went on to work for Riverside Health Care Facilities for 35 years.
Like nursing, education has changed a lot since I was a student. But its goals remain the same: equipping our children to be successful, community-minded, and to make positive contributions to the world around them.
The Education Act itself states: “The purpose of education is to provide students with the opportunity to realize their potential and develop into highly-skilled, knowledgeable, caring citizens who contribute to their society.”
My goal is to ensure our classrooms take that mission to heart. To do so, I believe we need inclusive classrooms that teach students life skills. That’s how we give young people the confidence and skills to navigate our society and find a meaningful role for themselves in the workplace or higher education.
Skills like handwriting, performing basic math, or using money without a calculator, and instilling values like work ethic, manners, and respect, need to have a place in our education system. At the same time, I am concerned by the number of distractions facing our youth and the impact this has on education–such as using cellphones in the classroom.
I have been a lifelong teacher and learner through the various organizations I have been involved with, and I think schools provide a strong start for others to look for opportunities to grow and give back outside of the classroom.
Personally, I have been co-ordinator for the Emo Ambulance Service, I have taught emergency first response courses to qualify new ambulance attendants, I taught first aid and CPR to the public, and served on the board of the Atikokan Women’s Shelter for a few years.
I’m also a skilled bookkeeper, and have managed the finances of a number of businesses and organizations over the years. I was CFO for the local association of the Ontario PC Party when Rainy River District was a separate riding, and more recently served as secretary-treasurer of the Rainy River Valley Agricultural Society for 10 years.
I also did the books for the United Churches in Emo and Devlin for many years.
I believe these skills have given me a keen eye for detail that will help me to serve the oversight function of the school board. I am computer-savvy, and use the Internet for my work and social media to stay in touch with my friends and family.
I’m also a mother of two, grandmother of six, and great-grandmother of four. I am committed to ensuring that quality local education continues to serve their generations as it did mine.
Editor’s note: John Fuhrer is the other candidate for the Emo-Chapple-Sioux Narrows-Nestor Falls seat on the RRDSB but he did not submit a profile by the deadline.