Orillia trustee elected school board head 0
Orillia's trustee is back at the helm of the Simcoe County District School
Debra Edwards was elected chair of the board at the pre-inaugural meeting
Monday night at the Education Centre in Midhurst.
Board chairs and vice-chairs are elected every year. Collingwood and
Clearview Township trustee Caroline Smith was elected vice-chair.
This is the third time Edwards has served as chair in her 22 years with the
board. She has served once as vice-chair.
"I didn't commit to get re-elected (in the municipal election) with any
notion about running for chair," Edwards said.
However, after speaking in recent weeks with trustees, she changed her mind.
"They don't want to hit roadblocks about procedural debate."
And that will be one area of focus for Edwards.
"At the meeting, I held up Robert's Rules and I said, 'There's this
gentleman named Robert who's been holding up too much business at the board
The rules won't be ignored, she stressed, but she hopes procedures will be
used more efficiently to avoid too many extended and continued board
meetings. In the previous board term, it wasn't uncommon for the board to
not get through an agenda in one meeting without extending the meeting.
"We're going to use the rules of order to expedite our meetings," she said,
adding, given her experience, she has "no excuse not to have a good handle
on rules of order."
With five of the 12 trustees being new to the board, Edwards has "a renewed
enthusiasm" about this term.
"I hope that we can move forward to make good long-term decisions for our
schools," she said. "The new trustees want to get onto making good decisions
that benefit children."
Michele Locke, trustee for Midland, Penetanguishene, Wasaga Beach and Tiny
Township, nominated Edwards for chair. The nomination was seconded by
Oro-Medonte and Springwater townships trustee Peter Beacock.
Also in the running for chair was Robert North, trustee for
Adjala-Tosorontio and Essa townships.