School board candidates offer southern viewpoints in Aberfoyle

School board candidates offered a variety of opinions to Puslinch residents at an all candidates’ meeting on Oct. 8 in the Puslinch Community Centre.

Wellington Catholic District School Board

Shaun Redmond

Speaking to the crowd, Redmond explained that he worked for more than 12 years at the Wellington Catholic District School Board which gave him a great opportunity to travel to every corner of Wellington County to meet and work with staff.

That, he said, gives him a deep understanding of the organizational processes and the social and psychological factors that influence them.

He was also actively involved with the Ontario Catholic Business Officials Association.

He also spoke of his broader experience in the wider public sector through Wellington County’s public sector consortium.

“Our community is stronger when we work together.”

Redmond said the most important change for him occurred through becoming involved as a parent when his two sons entered the Catholic education system.

“When you are involved as a parent volunteer you really get a grassroots understanding of what education is all about.

“I am passionate about community building, service to the community, stewardship, civic responsibility and consensus building.”

He wants to ensure a student-centred Catholic education system supported by parents, school and parish.

Cassandra Chornoboy

Chornoboy wants to represent Guelph-Eramosa, Puslinch and Erin.

A life-long resident of Guelph-Eramosa, she works at the agricultural adaptation office in Guelph, and is a graduate of both the University of Guelph and the local Catholic education system.

She said she was the only candidate with experience on the Wellington Catholic District School Board, having served as a student trustee while in high school.

During that time, she learned how the board works and the policies it follows, she stated.

Chornoboy believes serving as a trustee would allow her to continue the work she began in high school.

She said she also is the only candidate who lives in the area.

“It is important to have a trustee that cares about the matters which happen in the rural society.”

Though younger than many candidates, Chornoboy considers it an advantage as it will allow her to be a visible role model and mentor to those continuing their religious studies.

“If we want the Catholic education and religion to continue we need the younger generation to be engaged and I feel I can do that.”

Upper Grand District School Board

This trustee position is for the City of Guelph (Ward 6) and Puslinch Township.

Christopher Cassel

“I’m excited to be a candidate and potential school board trustee,” said Cassel.

His primary reason for running is a vested interest – his son – who will begin school next year.

Cassel wants to ensure his son and his peers have a solid foundation and a school system that will support their needs going forward.

Cassel has a degree in public policy and criminal justice and is working on a second degree in public management.

He volunteers with Family and Children Services, is a Big Brother, and is involved with the Guelph probation office.

He also works with the Canadian Mental Health Association  working with disadvantaged children in the community.

“It gives me an intimate feel for what the children in the Upper Grand District School Board need.”

Cassel said he offers a strong degree of understanding.

He added his sister, a teacher, “likes to fill my ear with what is going on at the UGDSB. She lets me know the good, the bad and the ugly, and everything she feels can be done to improve the quality of education.”

He said he would be able to add sound economic reasoning to school board decisions.

Marty Fairbairn

Fairbairn was impressed with the turnout that night.

“I’ve been involved in the school board one way or another since about 1994.”

He cited numerous positions over the years beginning with school councils and a lot of volunteer work at the board office.

Fairbairn quipped that around 2003 someone suggested that since he was spending so much time at the board office … why not run for trustee.

“I’ve been off and on the board since 2003.”

Currently Fairbairn serves as vice chair of the UGDSB and chairs the budget committee. “It’s the greatest job I’ve ever had – paid or unpaid. It’s a terrific job and you get to make decisions which impact kids and kids who are struggling.”

Fairbairn said he loves to see kids who might otherwise not succeed – “thriving and getting an education.”

“I love it and hope to go on for another four years.”

Tyler Rockliffe

Rockliffe was absent.