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2014 TVDSB Candidate Survey - Shawn Lewis

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.

Shawn Lewis - Candidate Wards 1,11,12,14
Thank you for doing this. The trustee campaign gets very little attention, helping get people informed about it is important!

Why do you want to be a school board trustee?
I'm extremely lucky to have many kids in my life. Over the past four years, interacting with my community and listening to parents, I'm concerned with the direction of public education in Ontario. I am concerned in several ways that we are setting our children up to fail in our 21st century world. I want to ensure that does not happen. I want to ensure that for generations to come, we are providing our children the quality education 
they deserve and need to succeed. And, I feel that I have the skills and experience to bring to the role of trustee that can make a real difference.

What do you consider to be the most important role of a school board trustee?
First and foremost, Trustees must always keep in mind that they are the elected voice of the public in the education system. Too many trustees act as though they work for the Board and the Director of Education, forgetting that their job is to work for the public. That said, job one is to LISTEN to and ADVOCATE for the  parents and children directly affected by the school board's policies and practices. 

What do you believe to be the most important issue for the TVDSB to address over the next four years?
There a many issues facing the TVDSB over the next four years. Declining enrollments and the real possibility of neighbourhood school closures, are serious, community altering issues that need to be approached with sensitivity. This requires Trustees who have a genuine, ongoing relationship with our City Council, MPPs, and MPs, because these decisions are subject to factors beyond the control of the board itself. Already having such relationships gives me the ability to build opportunities that minimize the impact of declining school enrollments and create new partnerships in our neighbourhoods.

The TVDSB also faces challenges in meeting the needs of students in a way that bridges the urban/rural divide. It must meet the challenges of an increasingly diverse student body. And it faces the challenge of meeting these challenges without sacrificing the basics of a quality education.

What skills and experience do you have that qualify you to be a school board trustee?
For 8 years I've served as the senior constituency assistant to MP Irene Mathyssen. I have been a constant advocate for our constituents, helping them navigate and overcome barriers within federal government departments. I've helped develop smart policies. I've worked with City Councillors, MPPs, and MPs, across political parties, to get results for people, and to bring funding partnerships together for community initiatives. I've also spent a great deal of that time listening to, and working to address the concerns of literally thousands of individuals. As a minor hockey volunteer, I've worked with parents and kids to ensure they had a positive experience in organized sports. I've also taught computer literacy programs for at risk youth. I know how to relate to parents and students. I've also worked with labour groups, listening to teachers and educational assistants. I have a wide range of skills and abilities that make for a good trustee, but it comes down to knowing how to relate to and work with people to get results in a government system, and no candidate has more experience at that than I do.

How can voters get in touch with you for more information?
twitter: @shawnwlewis
and of course by good old fashioned phone I can be reached at 226-235-1025.
I can't promise to always be available immediately, but I do promise to get back to any enquiries within 3 days.