Brantford and County of Brant GEDSB trustee candidates vie for your vote


Candidates for Grand Erie District School Board trustees want to improve communication with parents and stakeholders.

About a dozen candidates for Brantford, County of Brant and Norfolk County were given three minutes to speak to community members last Wednesday evening at the Brantford and District Civic Centre where accountability and transparency took centre stage at the event hosted by the Grand Erie Elementary Teachers Federation.

There are 11 candidates running in Brantford including the current chair, Greg Anderson who said his experience as a trustee and former superintendent make him the most qualified candidate.

“A lot of the people running are going to talk about things a school board trustee doesn’t have control over,” he said.

Nicholas Archer, the candidate of record for the None of the Above party said he wants to help improve literacy and numeracy competencies in schools, but he doesn’t have a solid plan.

Brian Beattie, a pastor at Freedom House Church and chair of One Church wants to bring up the communication game.

“We need real communication,” he said. “There’s a real need to do better.”

John Bradford, a former broadcast journalist and Mohawk College teacher said he hopes to bring transparency and accountability to budget discussions and will bring a future forward perspective.

“I represented council on two Accommodation Review Committees, as the Grand Erie Board was closing two school’s in my ward. I brought reams of data to show the anticipated development of housing and population growth in the next six to eight years,” he said. “Some are surprised how high current enrolment is, but it wasn’t considered at those public meetings.”

Julie Bridgen, a former Human Resources specialist and legal background wants to focus on improving special needs learning and educational plans for autistic children.

“I’m here to help hard working parents within the GEDSB and I want accountability in education,” she said. “It’s important to include diverse populations.”

David Dead, current trustee, said he wants to focus on a balanced budget, safe, welcoming schools and support for parents.

“I take pride in supporting the young,” he said. “I respect parents and they need a voice in education.”

Susan Gibson, a registered nurse, said she wants to focus on policies that support healthy, inclusive learning environments, mental health, resilience and leadership.

“I am passionate about growing our community through high quality education and am committed to supporting students, staff and families,” she said.

Colleen Groupil said she wants to focus on transparency through communication with parents.

Carol Ann Sloat, a current trustee said she’s passionate about education and students’ and parents’ well-being.

“I love going to events at schools and seeing the smiles on student’s faces,” she said.

Dale Renout, a pastor, said he wants to bring inclusion back to schools.

“Bullying is a major problem,” he said.

County of Brant Canadiate David Vantilborg, a retired teacher, wants to focus on bringing technical skills back into classrooms to help get students into the trades.

“You have to start early,” he said. “People may think it’s impossible, but I don’t think it is. It will take time, but we had it before, why can’t we have it again?”

Thomas Waldschmidt, a current trustee, is running to continue listening and bringing solutions to parents.

“We heard parents when they said they didn’t want Paris Central to close, so we brought French immersion from Burford to keep it open,” he said.

Christina Speers, a committed volunteer, also wants to advocate for parents.

“Hard work pays off,” she said. “We need to give parents a voice.”

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