At the January 17th, 2017 Caucus meeting, I provided notice to my Trustee colleagues that after two years at the helm, I would be stepping aside as Board Chair, allowing for the election of a new Board Chair, and continuing to serve the board as Trustee for Ward F.
Given the fact that my youngster arrived three weeks early, I’ve asked Michelle to prepare for an organizational board meeting to be held February 28th, 2017.
It has been an incredible honor and I look forward to continuing to support the district in our very important work.
Here is a copy of my letter I gave the board:
(Confidential- Caucus Meeting Jan 17/2017. For inclusion as an information item in the March 7th, 2017 Board Package)
January 17th, 2017
Dear Vice-Chair Draper and Superintendent Darrel Robertson,
After two eventful years as EPSB Board Chair, it is with great excitement (and trepidation) that I intend to step down as Board Chair effective March 6th, 2017 as I embark on a new journey: fatherhood. Sally and I are most excited to share that our first child is due March 6th, and as such I would ask that you prepare to take over as Board Chair and preside over the March 7th, 2017 Board Meeting.
As per the EPSB Trustee Handbook:
An incumbent who decides to resign from the position of Board Chair or Vice-Chair shall notify each other and the Superintendent of Schools. The Board Chair will notify the Board at a Caucus Committee meeting. Decisions pertaining to public communication will need to be determined. Nominations and elections for the vacant position will take place at a Board meeting using the process as per the annual Organizational Board meeting.
To be perfectly clear this is not a resignation from the Board, merely a change of position. I look forward to continuing to serve as Trustee Ward F and supporting yourself and the new Vice-Chair in transition.
If you will indulge me a bit of self-reflection:
1.Leadership is action not position. It is not the title we hold but the actions we take and the causes we stand for.
2. Politics is not only the positive which you accomplish, but also the negative which you slow or halt. We must always stand on principle for that which we know to be just and true, even if odds are against us.
3. Hard power we have little, influence we have plenty. We must continue to create the parades that we want the politicians to run in front of.
When I took over this role in January 2015, it was under a different political philosophy, facing the threat of drastic cuts and layoffs. Unafraid, our Board stood up for education in April 2015 and spoke truth to power. Later on our Board took many other courageous stands on important issues:
halting the continued public subsidy of private school businesses
speaking up for Syrian newcomer students and their families
challenging the entitlement of the ASBA and reshaping provincial school board advocacy
picking eleven new namesakes for new schools reflective of our whole city
renewed our commitment to student engagement via the Student Senate
turned a new page with the Edmonton City Council on our capital planning realities
impressive student achievement results that continue to track upward
the inclusion of consent as a curricular outcome
advocating on the weighting of diploma exams
continued advocacy for sexual and gender minority students
Marshalling support for future “schools as community hubs” projects
and many other important issues that will help build a more just and inclusive community for all
While I had the distinct honour of serving as our spokesperson, any accomplishments were because of the commitment and shared advocacy of all. Momentum is in our favour, but we must remain vocal and steadfast in our advocacy. No other entity is entrusted with the entire interest of the whole District-- all 95,000 students, staff, and the families we serve-- than the Board of Trustees.
Serving as Board Chair has been a tremendous honour and I am enormously privileged to hold such an office and work with such fantastic leaders and educators across our District. I thank the Board of Trustees for the trust that they have placed in me and my capacity to serve both as your Vice-Chair and Chair. I value each of you for the unique skills and perspectives you have shared. And on a personal note, a very special thank you to Darrel for his leadership and laughter and to the Board Admin team (Shirley, Cindi and Deanna) who ensured the curtain calls were flawless.