Scarborough-Agincourt, meet your TDSB trustee candidates

The race to fill the open Toronto District School Board trustee position in Scarborough-Agincourt (Ward 20) is heating up.

The byelection, which has seen a total of 14 candidates run with various level of education experience, will take place on Feb. 27.

Ron Lowe, a TDSB employee for 34 years and retired principal of Terry Fox Public School, has built his platform around issues such as the implementation of full-day kindergarten, preparing students for future success, and raising awareness for issues that are often dismissed.

“We have so many issues in schools, and some things get put to the background,” he said. “I think these issues should be brought forward, and one of those issues would be addressing not just the physical health of our students, but the mental well-being as well.”

Former trustee Carol McDonald, who is currently on leave from working for Toronto city councillor Mike Del Grande, is also running in this by-election. Her platform revolves around three main factors, which she calls the “ABCs of education.”

“‘A’ is accountability, where parents, students, and teachers take responsibility for their roles in education,” she said. “‘B’ is balance, where class sizes have to be realistic, so teachers can teach academic and social skills effectively.

“’C’ is cost, where we’ve got $2.5 billion in the education budget from the city of Toronto,” McDonald continued. “We have to be able to manage that properly.”

Scott Harrison is yet another candidate who has come into the fold. Like McDonald, Harrison is also a former trustee. After being defeated in his native ward of Scarborough-Centre (Ward 19), Harrison hasn’t officially released details about his platform, but says it’s centred on “unfinished business.”

“My platform will be – and I’m not going to let the cat out of the bag yet – looking at ways to fund nutritional programs through our schools,” he said. “It’ll also look at issues that affect Ward 20, such as the amount of dollars spent on local schools, and bringing the Scarborough Parent Conference back to the community.”

Nearly five years ago, Harrison introduced the Scarborough Parent Conference with Wong, who left Ward 20 last year in favour of a seat with the provincial Liberal party. Harrison said that the conference was cancelled this year because of a lack of trustee involvement, which has upset many parents and residents of the ward.

There are 11 additional candidates running, including Sonny Yeung, Monica Batac, and Manna Wong. A full list and more information can be found at the City of Toronto Elections Services page.

16 comments:

  1. It’s really interesting to see how many of these candidates claim that they are educators, working in real classrooms, helping real students. Search them up on http://www.oct.ca. Yet we cannot find them in the College of Education (teachers with real credentials). This makes us wonder, why would they lie to us?

  2. I had the honor to meet both Ron lowe and Scott Harrison on different occasions. Both gentlemen are polished,and well educated, and extremly polite. As a principle Ron lowe has defenietly eaarned the respect of parents, students, and the entire community. Both men understand the needs of students and are willing to give 100%. A man who fulfills the needs of his wife and children, will understand and fulfill the needs of the students, and keep his community happy.Its as simple as that. Remember CHARITY begins at home. I see potential in these two men. Good Luck to both of you.

  3. I believe Ron Lowe is the best candidate for the position. He is intelligent, well-educated, polished, personable, approachable and very well-respected by parents, students and educators throughout the community. His previous experience as a principal at Terry Fox, one of the highest-ranked schools in Toronto, will serve him well in this capacity. A trustee has much more authority than a principal, and he seems cognizant of the great responsibility he will hold if he wins. He understands the the importance of collaborating with the other trustees to arrive at fair decisions, as well as earning their respect, and he also understands the importance of understanding and implementing the decisions made by the Ministry of Education. Now that he is retired, he has the time and energy to devote himself to this important role.

  4. There will be a meet-the-candidates event held at Kennedy Public School on Thursday, February 16 from 6:30 p.m. till 9:00 p.m. Child care will be available. All ward 20 residents are encouraged to attend. This is a great opportunity to voters to learn more about the candidates for this very important TDSB trustee position. This non-partisan event is being hosted by the Scarborough Civic Action Network.
    http://ysnwebelong.files.wordpress.com/2012/02/schoolboardtrustee-allcanmeeting-16feb2012.pdf

  5. Out of all these 14 candidates, only few are visible to the community…

    I have met with many candidates trying to get this position. I think Winston John is most polite and strong candidate. He should get the position. Especially when we are staring to embrace the hi-tech in class rooms…

  6. I have read the above article and have read the posts published. I’m confused as to what people are speaking about. I’m not opposed to people having their views and expressing them but I don’t see where any candidate has distinguished themselves. Sam at least has run before in ward 20 and has shown that he isn’t jumping to a different ward just to get elected.

    Sam must be the front runner because he’s the one getting attacked the most. From the article and speaking to many of the candidates directly, I have the following to say regarding all the candidates. We can group them into 3 categories.

    1 group is hopeful.You have many candidates who just want to put their names forward and hope that they win. These candidates are passionate but have no idea about process and or how to make the changes they desire.

    The 2nd group seems to be a group of professionally attached political people, who’ve held office and lost or wish to parachute into the region because they feel its safe to do so without an incumbent. They seem to be looking to contribute again but it begs the question, why were they rejected by there own communities or afraid to compete against an incumbent in ward 20?

    The 3rd group really only has 2 people. Ron Lowe and Sam Sotiropoulos. Both of these gentlemen have significant roots in the ward and should be considered the ones to watch.

    When we compare both people, I’m curious why Ron hasn’t used his influence as a board employee and especially principal to get his agenda established while he worked within the TDSB system? Why is he now saying he can be more helpful to students and the community as an elected representative instead of when he wielded real authority as a school principal and could’ve got other schools on board to his agenda?

    With respect to Sam Sotiropoulos. I don’t know what influence he may have had in the past to make positive changes but this is his 3rd time he’s putting his name forward. It doesn’t seem he’s a Johnny come lately and he may be deserving of the chance to make a difference. For him, 3 times may be the charm.

    Good luck to all.

  7. Hey Sam,
    What exactly does a “special” assistant do? Were you paid with our tax dollars? Was there an open, advertised competition for the job? What “special” qualifications did you have? How does your experience as an MP’s “special assistant” qualify you to be a school trustee?

  8. The reply in the comments section by Mr. Sotiropoulos is in a nut shell why I won’t be voting for him. He is incapable of being gracious and it is clear he possesses an innate nastiness that is not often very subtle. His performance on the last candidate’s debate hosted by Rogers TV has his smarmy, self important and nasty character on full display.

    If anyone has a even a passing knowledge of Federal politics, citing infamous Jim Karygiannis – the MP listed year after year as missing the most time at work on Parliament Hill (and Mr. Sotiropoulos’s Godfather) is far from a feather in anyone’s cap – I assure you it’s quite the opposite.

    If you were/are a supporter of Soo Wong – Sam Sotiropoulos would be the last amongst these candidates that you would want to support. Mr. Lowe and Mr. Harrison would both be vastly superior choices in terms of policy and character versus the self-absorbed and self-righteous Mr. Sotiropoulos.

    My advice for Mr. Sotiropoulos would be to give people a reason to vote for you – be positive in your message for a change – instead of so many reasons to vote against you (i.e. you constant stance of negativity and your never ending approach of trying to appeal to the lowest common denominator in society).

    You come across as an angry, self-entitled person who strikes out like a wounded animal at anyone who dares challenge your views. That only serves to debase yourself and rob the people of this ward of a sound debate on the issues.

    Here’s hoping for an honest, open debate of the *real* issues in this election. I pray that the ward gets the candidate that has the interests of the children and their education closest to their heart.

  9. While all of the other candidates appear to be genuinely interested in helping the children of Ward 20, Mr. Sotiropoulos’s self-important comment at the end of this article has solidified the negative opinion I have formed of him over the years. Shame.

  10. I was running as a Trustee Candidate in Ward 22 because I did not want to compete directly with Soo Wong. I support the work that she did and look to fill a similar role. I would work with her cooperatively since she is now the local MPP!

  11. Where were all these people just over a year ago? They were working hard to directly help students in the most meaningful ways. Students look up to role models that look out for them. As a student, who can be the perfect trustee than someone who actually had direct contact with students, listening to us and acting on our behalf? I’d say that Ron Lowe, with his past principal experience is the prime candidate for students. The only candidate who cares for the students, not some statistics from a political race.

  12. Conspicuous by his absence from the list of candidates in this post is Sam Sotiropoulos, who is also running in Ward 20. Mr. Sotiropoulos is a special assistant to Scarborough-Agincourt MP, Jim Karygiannis. Mr. Sotiropoulos was a candidate for the same seat 15 months ago and garnered 10707 votes, just shy of Ms. Soo Wong’s total in a hotly contested race. Sam Sotiropoulos has run for the Trustee position in Scarborough-Agincourt twice before in 2006 and 2010, he is the only returning candidate from the last municipal election. Mr. Sotiropoulos was not contacted by the author of this post, but he has this to say about the upcoming by-election in Scarborough-Agincourt: “It is nice to see all the sudden interest in representing Scarbrough-Agincourt’s schools, but, one has to wonder, where were all these people just over a year ago?”

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