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2014 TVDSB Candidate Survey - Darlene Snyders

On September 14th, I emailed the London candidates for Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB) Trustee.  As outlined in a previous blog post, this was done to provide more exposure to this important position and to give Londoners an opportunity to get more insight into the candidates.

Darlene Snyders - Candidate Wards 2,3,4,5,6
I want to start by thanking you for giving the Trustee candidates an avenue to share our information. I did read your blog and you are so right that our voters should be making an educated decision regarding their trustees. Voting by name recognition just is not the responsible way to vote.

Why do you want to be a school board trustee?
My interest in school board trustee started at least 10 years ago when I realized what a school board trustee was and did. Children’s education is very important to me, as they are the decision makers of our future. When I look at a child, I see so much potential and I want to help them achieve all they can be. However I did not run until I felt I was at a level of knowledge, experience and education so I could provide the best for our students, parents and staff of the board.

What do you consider to be the most important role of a school board trustee?
To me the most important role is the make all school board buildings a safe environment for students, parents, staff and administration. I am aware this could take many different steps until all feel safe. When every child feels safe they will do their best and will attend school with excitement and enthusiasm. When parents feel safe they will be open to conversation with teachers and administration to find the best solutions for their child. After the survey that was completed last year by staff, it was very shocking to see how few staff felt safe in their place of employment. How can they give their best to their students when they are worried about their own safety?  When administration feels safe then they will be open to communication and problem solving to all the students, parents and staff.  We need to see consistency across the board regarding safety. We can all take the pledge against bullying, but until we live the words it really is not worth the paper it is written on. Many people spent many hours creating this pledge, let’s show them it was worth every minute they put into it. Each year we take the pledge, and each year we still hear about bullying. Why?

What do you believe to be the most important issue for the TVDSB to address over the next four years?
Declining enrollment is a very large issue that needs to be addressed. With declining enrollment, along comes less funding from the Ministry, budget cuts and school closings.  But I also believe another issue that needs to be addressed is the disconnect between parents and the Board.  When we all work together, we show our children they are that important that we are all willing to work towards the best for them.

What skills and experience do you have that qualify you to be a school board trustee?
I am a member of the parent run organization Home and School for 15 years. Being part of this organization has taught me a lot regarding education. This organization is involved at the school level, the city level and the provincial level. This organization has given me many learning opportunities at all three levels. I have been involved with advocating or the students of the Thames Valley on all three levels. Just two of the subjects I actively advocated for are petitioning the ministries involved to increase the penalties for possession, making and distribution of child pornography and getting an age limit on the sale of energy drinks. I have a clear understanding of what is involved in the position of trustee. I am aware there is so much more involved than just two meeting a month. There are 35 committees that need Trustee representation at their tables. I have also sat through board meetings and had the courage to stand up and present to the board during an ARC process and the water bottle issue. I work part time as a PSW and have the time to sit on some of these committees and commit to this position full heartedly. I am not doing this position for the money (as it is a very small amount for the many hours involved), I am doing it for my love of education for our students. I am not afraid to stand up for my constituents and fight for what they want. I will make decisions based on what my constituents want and not what I want personally. I can play devil’s advocate when need be and I am aware I cannot make everyone happy, but will do my best to at least find a solution all parties can be happy with. I want to be trustee and trustee only. I have no personal agendas and I am not using the position of trustee as a stepping stone to further political avenues.  I have volunteered with victim services for 6 years, which taught me how to react in a professional yet empathetic manner when dealing in a crisis. I have taken many courses on elder abuse, suicide prevention, how to read body language, crisis prevention and intervention, dealing with difficult people, anti bullying, proper use of social media, parent engagement, equity and inclusive education strategy, smart serve and proper communication skills. I have a diploma as a PSW, Security Professional level 1, and Paralegal studies. I take every opportunity to learn more so that I can be the best educated person for our students.

How can voters get in touch with you for more information?
You can contact me at:
Please visit my website at