Kitchener – Kathi Smith

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About Kathi

Kathi is a passionate advocate for children and youth. She is seeking her fifth term as a trustee for the WRDSB in Kitchener. Her work on the Board has included being both Chair and Vice Chair; mentor for the student trustees and student senate; trustee rep on the Parent Involvement Committee;trustee rep on the accessibility committee and member of the Equity and Inclusion Advisory Group. To each committee she brings her passion, commitment and belief that all kids can be successful. She is a staunch supporter of the staff of the WRDSB regardless of the role they play – as each is important to our students. She is currently an instructor in the School of Business and Hospitality at Conestoga College. She has run her own business as well as coaching others in entrepreneurship both, at the College and when she ran the Small Business Centre for the Region. Kathi has been an active volunteer in a wide variety of organizations in the Region. Kathi had the privilege of being the first female elected as Chair of the Greater KW Chamber of Commerce. She is a strategic thinker and always brings a big picture view to any work she does. She has helped to raise money for Nutrition for Learning and, through her Rotary club, has helped to provide funds to support students in schools that are in need. She believes that youth are not ‘going to be leaders in the future’ but that they are already leaders today, making a difference in our community & world. Three of her goals for the coming term are 1) Final steps on equitable and inclusionary hiring to see the system reflect our community 2) Implementing processes that truly engage and include students, parents and staff with the system 3) Investigate innovative methods of improving student learning for WRDSB

In the words of Nelson Mandela “The true character of a society is revealed in how it treats its children.” Let’s continue to support and encourage our youth in the Waterloo Region to equip them to be successful adults.

Excerpts from Kathi’s Better Choices Questionnaire

“I will make sure that we respect the process of collective bargaining. Our Board has been blessed to have a respectful and positive relationship with our bargaining units. At the end of the day, it is all about relationships and how we work together in a cooperative manner to provide the best possible education for students.”

“Our Board needs to listen to our community and provide meaningful opportunities to give feedback. The Engagement consultation that was completed last spring showed how badly WRDSB is doing in terms of engaging our ‘stakeholders’. While the results were a surprise to our leadership team they were not at all surprising to me. We ask for input, then, using a variety of excuses, choose to ignore the results. I will continue to demand that we make changes to how we engage all stakeholders – parents, community, students and staff so that they have an opportunity to be heard and so that their ideas are acted upon – or, if they are not acted upon, we explain why not.”

Ontario and Canada have among the most successful school systems in the world (second only to Finland). Data tells us that the reason for that is our inclusionary schooling system. Data (and I am not talking about EQAO) tells us what we are doing right and where we need to improve. We need to take into account school culture and climate, we need to understand the demographic make-up of our schools and the challenges and advantages that each school has. We need to align staff to schools. We need to look at the role that our educational and no educational staff play. As trustees, it is our role to make sure that the board takes into account not just data but other factors.”

“A livable, sustainable community is inclusionary and welcoming to all. It is a community that embraces their most vulnerable not that pretends they don’t exist. It is a community that makes opportunities available for all. It provides open spaces even in the downtown area. To make sure that you have a livable and sustainable community, the silos must disappear and there must be more collaboration among all levels of local government and the community.”