By Isabella Keats
Back in October, we had our municipal election. In this election, voters got to vote for people in three different categories: mayor, city councillor, and school trustee. With Toronto being a large city, it gets to be broken up into 22 school trustee wards. A ward is a specific area within the city. Because a lot of Harbord students live in areas with different ward numbers, I’m going to focus on the ward Harbord itself is located in, Ward 10 (University-Rosedale and Toronto Center). As I mentioned, one of the positions people could vote on was school trustees so buckle up and get ready to meet the ward 10 trustee: Deborah Williams.
Not only is Deborah Williams the trustee, she is also a parent who is very involved in her community and in public education as well. She has been heavily involved in her community for over a decade, serving as chair of the TDSB Ward 10 Council, director of non-profit community groups that support students' mental health and well-being, and a parent volunteer co-chair on school councils. Throughout her campaign she had received support from former TDSB Trustee & Council Candidate Chris Moise, former City Councillor Mike Layton for University–Rosedale, and even Member of Provincial Parliament (MPP) Jessica Bell for University-Rosedale.
In her campaign, Williams stated that she is committed to closing the learning gaps that were caused due to the pandemic. Williams is advocating for funding from the provincial government that would go towards supporting equitable public education for all students. Because Williams wants to make public education a priority, she would work alongside students, families, communities, and education workers in order to see where things need adjusting.
Now with all that information I just told you about Deborah Williams you’re probably wondering, “Well, what does a school trustee do and how can I contact them?” To break it down into its simplest terms, a school trustee is a communication gateway between students/parents and the school board. For example, our school trustee had to vote on if Harbord could have a gender-neutral washroom or not. A parent brought it up to the trustee's attention and the trustee brought it to the school board's attention. When it comes to contacting Williams, it’s actually very simple. On her website (https://www.votewilliamsto.ca/) at the top, there is a contact tab that you can select and from there you can write your information and concerns.
Students and parents' needs are forever evolving, and a school trustee’s job is to make that evolution happen. For any issue, big or small, your school trustee is there for you.