Retired teacher and principal Donna Nielsen vies for English Separate Trustee

Courtesy photo

Candidate for Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario Trustee

Donna Nielsen

Age: Not disclosed

Retired school principal

1. What prompted your decision to run for trustee this time?

After having recently retired from a successful career in education, both as teacher and principal, I am confident I can fulfill the requirements of English Separate Trustee.  I continue to be passionate about offering the best education for all students.

2. What are the key strengths you would bring to the job if elected?

I respect the role of Trustee as very important, as the trustee is a community leader.  If elected, I will be a voice for all students within the school board, helping to ensure that every student’s needs are met. In short, the ‘heart, mind, body and soul, of every student. As trustee, I promise to work with Board of Education contributing to the multi-year strategic plan/vision to ensure the best education possible for every student.  I will be visible in the educational community, and bring school good news (initiatives, events, accomplishments) and concerns to the table. I will facilitate improvement by being a respectful, caring and professional communicator and collaborator. I have the expertise necessary to fulfill the requirements of this position. My personal portfolio includes a Master’s in Education with a specialty in Curriculum and Special Education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. During my 37 years in education, I worked for 5 Boards of Education and taught at all levels; kindergarten to grade 12, English as a Second Language, Special Education, and even taught primary French in Quebec. I joined the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario in 2000 and in 2002, began a 16 year career as principal at St. Mary, Morrisburg, later St. Mary-St. Cecilia, Immaculate Conception, St. Peter’s, Bishop McDonell in Cornwall, and finally St. Andrew’s in St. Andrew’s. I felt passionate about the contributions I made in education, and I remain passionate regarding the contributions I could make as English Separate Trustee.
My husband Ted and I have been married 34 years. We are the proud parents and grandparents. Ted and I are members of St. Peter’s Parish in Cornwall. I am Chair of Pastoral Council, am on the Hospitality Committee, assist with Baptisms and sacramental preparations, am an Eucharistic Minister, am a member of the CWL and belong to two Alpha groups.

3. What are the top few issues that you see facing the school board?

The most important goal of a successful Board of Education is ensuring that every student reaches his/her potential; in short student achievement. That being said, the pressures and expectations of today’s society can sometimes become overwhelming. Positive mental health of all students in South Dundas is definitely a key concern. Our schools need to be welcoming, promoting a safe, caring and confidential environments. Students need to feel comfortable seeking counsel when in need.  We need to promote positive mental health throughout our curriculum delivery, religious education program, family life program and extra curricular opportunities. When students are hopeful, they become confident. This confidence is the essential key to reaching and exceeding potential. I plan to promote positive mental health by:

* Being a leader in Catholic education

* Promoting student achievement, well-being and equity

* Promoting a positive school climate that is inclusive and accepting of all students

* Being a visible and valuable presence

* Creating collaborative relationships inside the board and across the community

* Promoting continuous improvement

4. Is there anything you hope to change in the school board?

Communication is so very important. I am blessed to have worked alongside dedicated educators, and I am confident this tradition would continue if I were trustee.  I am committed to attending school events on a regular basis. Currently the Trustee Newsletter is distributed every month along with each school’s newsletter. I hope to contribute to the Trustee Newsletter. As trustee, I would make myself available by email and by phone. Hearing a friendly voice has become a gift in today’s society and I promise to be that friendly voice and listening ear. I would welcome the opportunity to attend events promoting communication between school boards and municipal offices. I am an energetic and innovative leader. I am committed to my faith, my family and to catholic education. As English Separate School Trustee, I would reflect upon and draw upon my many experiences in catholic education, experiences in my parish and my own faith to make positive and informed contributions. I eagerly anticipate being awarded this opportunity.

5. How is your message being received during this campaign?

I am delighted at how well I have been greeted and supported at the All Candidates Events that I have had the privilege of attending.

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