By Richard Leitner, News Staff
At least four new faces are expected around the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board table after this fall’s municipal election – and quite likely more.
Of the 11 incumbent trustees, Ward 6’s Laura Peddle, Flamborough’s Karen Turkstra and Shirley Glauser, who stepped in as Stoney Creek trustee after Robert Barlow died from a heart attack last May, have all confirmed they won’t run again.
Ward 3 trustee Tim Simmons will also vacate his seat to run for city council. He filed his papers Monday.
Those still undecided include 25-year veteran Judith Bishop, trustee for wards 1 and 2, and current chair Jessica Brennan, who has represented Dundas since 2003.
“2014 also personally presents me with a number of professional and political possibilities. I’m keeping my options open,” Brennan said via email.
“I’ll be speaking with my family, friends and supporters over the next few months, leading up to my decision.”
While Peddle and Glauser had previously indicated they wouldn’t run again, Turkstra said her decision to step down after two terms partly reflects a desire to spend more time with her family and pursuing other interests.
But she said the fact her children no longer go to board schools is also a factor.
“Our daughters are now in post-secondary education and I feel strongly that there should be trustees around the table who have children in the system they are serving,” Turkstra said.
Lillian Orban, who has represented Ward 7 since 1991, did not respond to messages asking her electoral her intentions.
Rookie Alex Johnstone, trustee for wards 11 and 12, said she will announce a decision in June but other trustees say they expect her to seek re-election.
Trustees who have confirmed they are running again include Ward 4’s Ray Mulholland and Ward 5’s Todd White, who registered their candidacies on Jan. 2, and Ward 8’s Wes Hicks.
Mulholland, who has been a trustee for all but two years since 1972, said he is doing so because public education “is a true passion” and he believes it must serve all students, not just those pursuing professions like teaching or law.
White is meanwhile completing his first term and said he wants to see through some of the divisive decisions over the past four years, particularly around school closures and their impact on relationships with partners like the city.
“We need to rebuild our relationships city-wide,” he said. “We know that the board cannot exist alone,” he said.
Hicks, who has represented the west Mountain for most of the past three decades, said he also wants to repair relations with the city after a failed bid last fall to partner on a new high school and recreation centre at Scott Park.
He said other goals include improving math scores and ensuring a smooth transition as Barton and Hill Park close to make way for the new high school on the southeast Mountain.
Hicks said beyond the experience he brings to the board table, his coaching basketball at MacNab Secondary allows him to “get the pulse of how students are feeling.”
That’s important if there’s a big turnover in trustees this fall, he said.
“It’s always good to have new faces and new ideas and that, but you’ve got to also make sure that you have some stability and people that can carry on and sort of mentor the new trustees,” he said.