News Local

New chair, vice for RCDSB

By Stephen Uhler, The Daily Observer

Wendy Hewitt, trustee for the Township of Laurentian Valley and the Township of North Algona Wilberforce, right, was acclaimed the new chairwoman of the Renfrew County District School Board. Joining her was Trustee Susan Humphries, representing Renfrew, Greater Madawaska Township and Horton Township, who was acclaimed the board's vice-chairwoman.

Wendy Hewitt, trustee for the Township of Laurentian Valley and the Township of North Algona Wilberforce, right, was acclaimed the new chairwoman of the Renfrew County District School Board. Joining her was Trustee Susan Humphries, representing Renfrew, Greater Madawaska Township and Horton Township, who was acclaimed the board's vice-chairwoman.

The Renfrew County District School Board is moving into a new year with a new faces at the wheel.

On Tuesday during the board's inaugural meeting of the year, Wendy Hewitt, trustee for the Township of Laurentian Valley and the Township of North Algona Wilberforce, moved up from her vice-chairwoman spot as she was acclaimed the new chairwoman of the board.

Joining her was Trustee Susan Humphries, representing Renfrew, Greater Madawaska Township and Horton Township, who was acclaimed the board's vice-chairwoman.

Hewitt thanked those who supported her on the board, and singled out outgoing Chairman Dave Shields for his dedication to the board’s students and their well being. She also thanked all the school board’s senior staff, the superintendents, and Roger Clarke, their education director, for allowing the trustees to do their jobs.

She also thanked student trustees Nic Edge and Connor Webster for bringing the voice of the students to the table.

Hewitt said while the chairwoman of the school board has the responsibility to speak for the board as a whole, it isn’t all about her.

“I appreciate the fact that you have instilled your confidence in me as the chair of the Renfrew County District School Board,” she said, “yet, I want to make sure you all know that it’s not about me after today. We are a team, and no matter the title that each of us have, we are all equally represented here at the table together.”

She said as she reflects on 2016 and the sometimes rough roads they travelled on, Hewitt said all they have accomplished as a board has been done as a team, and for the benefit of their students. She said they should never forget their top priority must be their students.

“Our students will always be at the forefront of all of our decisions,” Hewitt said.

The chairwoman said as the board gets ready for 2017 and the challenges which will be part of it, it is important they remain focused and working as a team.

“As a group of trustees, I truly believe that life is a continuous path of learning,” Hewitt said. “We continue to learn from our student trustees, the students that come every month to share at our board, and what we continually all learn from each other. I look forward to continuing to work with an amazing group of educators and our team around this table.”

Humphries said she was humbled and honoured to be accepted as the new vice-chairwoman.

“I sincerely want to live up to your expectations,” she said, “and I look forward to working with you over this coming year.”

After it had acclaiming its chairwoman and vice-chairwoman, the board then determined its committee structure for 2016-2017, which is as follows:

For the standing committees, on which all trustees sit, heading up the Finance, Facilities and Services Committee is Trustee Marjorie Adam.

The Joint Session of Committees is led by Vice-Chair Humphries.

The Program and Personnel Services Committee is being helmed by Trustee Leo Boland.

Overseeing the various statutory/ad hoc committees are:

Audit committee -Trustees Bryon Morris, Adam and Boland;

Character Development Committee – Trustees Dave Shields and Morris;

Communications and Technology Committee -Trustees David Kaiser and Morris;

Director's Advisory Committee on Indigenous Education -Trustees Boland and Adam;

Director's Review Committee – Chairwoman Hewitt, Vice-Chairwoman Humphries, Past Chairman of the Board Shields, and Chairman of Program and Personnel Services Boland;

Parent Involvement Committee – Trustee Kim Dunsmoor-Lough;

Accessibility Committee – Trustee Dunsmoor-Lough;

Policy Review Committee -Trustees Morris, Kaiser and Vice-Chairwoman Humphries;

Renfrew County Joint Transportation Consortium Board of Directors – Trustees Adam and Boland.

The Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) -Trustees Morris and Dunsmoor-Lough, with alternates Trustees Kaiser and Shields;

Calendar Committee – Trustee Boland.

The Ontario Public School Boards Association – Vice-Chairwoman Humphries, director; alternate Trustee Adam, alternate; Trustee Shields, voting delegate.

SUhler@postmedia.com