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TVDSB Trustee Candidate Survey - Leroy Osbourne

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.

Leroy Osbourne - Candidate Wards 7,8,9,10,13
Thank you for taking the time to reach out to me and giving me an opportunity to communicate with your audience.

Why do you want to be a school board trustee?
I have always been interested to be a part of something bigger than myself, but more importantly this position resonates with me due to some of my childhood experiences.  When you are a child, it seems your two biggest responsibilities are to do well in school and to be a kid.

I was not very good in school from Gr. 1-3, I was pulling in ‘C’s and ‘D’s.  School was stressful and as the first born it felt like I was disappointing my parents.

My parents did not have a lot of resources and were uncertain as to how they could help me. My school only a few years old was in a newer suburban area and the school was still developing.

It was not until Gr. 4 that I developed confidence in myself because of two great teachers who saw my potential and created a classroom environment that aligned with my style of learning. I was a straight ‘A’ student in that year.

My early beginnings of disappointment overtime turned into personal success in my academic career reaching all the way to a master’s degree.

What do you consider to be the most important role of a school board trustee?
To do right by the children and parents and to get it right.  The trustee needs to ensure the resources are there for children to excel and that parents have the support and direction as to how they can assist their child to be a success.  You don’t always get a second chance to make a good impression and I feel that also applies to how children see the importance of their education and the relationship they have with their education.

What do you believe to be the most important issue for the TVDSB to address over the next four years?
We have struggling schools according to the Fraser Institute Study. More specifically, this translates into a number of struggling children in our school board system who are developing seeds of doubt in their ability to have a bright future.  This issue needs to have a sense of urgency.

What skills and experience do you have that qualify you to be a school board trustee?
Speaking to the human element, I am the first born of three, now four of us. That experience in itself typically comes with the burden of having a responsibility for others and makes one develop a personal mantra that speaks to caring for others. As a student, I worked as a residence staff member living with, engaging and having responsibility for 30 young men out of a coed residence community of almost 400.

I hold a master’s degree in Counselling having worked with young children, teens and young adults, and now as a residence manager with King’s University College, I continue my engagement and work, working with other parent’s children.

Finally, and most dear to me, I am a first-time parent of a four-year-old girl. That in and of itself is filled with sometimes round the clock first-time parent angst as one comes to truly realizes how one’s decisions affect another human being.

With respect to advocacy, I began my career when I was elected student council Vice President at Kings, representing a student body of almost 4000 students.

In the ‘real world’ following university, I was responsible for 150 employees within a call centre contract.  An environment, which may be hard to believe, had its moments of reward when seeing adult learners fully realize their ability and appreciate learning a new concept that was foreign to them moments ago. There were also moments of discovering self-courage to rise above the status-quo when I held strong to my beliefs of fairness for the employee even when it did not always align with the business model of the day.

In my time as a counsellor, I at times played an advocate to struggling teens and families who became involved with Family and Children Services in St Thomas. This was an experience that was tireless, self-reflective and rewarding.

Finally, I am a director of a condominium board and have been for the last 7 years. A model that is similar to that of a school trustee board in which you are decision makers as a collective and must devise strategies for success and ensure long-term prosperity for its members.
Now two final thoughts to the readers, I have come from very modest means and have worked hard to overcome those challenges. It has required me to see solutions through the layer of problems and creatively find solutions when there was little to start from. This is a mindset I feel is vital in one’s school trustee whether that is myself or the next candidate.  Lastly, the children in the TVDSB come from diverse families of different compositions, different walks of life, with different family resources and challenges.  Our board members composition should also be diverse and reflective of the different families in the TVDSB to best ensure a comprehensive collection of ideas, perspectives, experiences and knowledge are incorporated to come to the best decisions for our students, children, nieces, nephews, grandchildren and adult Londoners in waiting.

How can voters get in touch with you for more information?
Voters can get more information and connect with me via one of several ways:
Phone: 226-271-1798