Four vie for vacant UCDSB trustee spot

BROCKVILLE – Four candidates applied to the Upper Canada District School Board to fill the trustee vacancy left by the resignation of Ward 7 trustee Larry Berry. Berry represented South Dundas and North Dundas for four and a half years and resigned due to health reasons.

The four candidates include two former UCDSB trustees, one former trustee candidate from the 2022 election, and a South Dundas resident.

Edmond Marc du Rogoff, from Iroquois, was an associate professor at the University of Ottawa, and formerly worked at Heritage Canada. du Rogoff cited his experience in management, leadership, and communications as manager of French market tax credits for the film and television tax credit program of the Government of Canada.

“Among other achievements I reduced the turnaround times for processing applications from many months to a few weeks, as well as reducing the employee turnover to under 1%, by applying best management practices, strategic planning and innovative mentoring,” he wrote.

While at the department of Communications at the University of Ottawa, du Rogoff taught courses on media, communications theory, and public relations both in English and French.

“I feel that I could further contribute by becoming the trustee of the School Board for the Ward where I reside,” du Rogoff said in a letter of intent included with his application. “Among my many accomplishments and of particular interest for the UCSB[sic], I find specially relevant the fact that as a Professor I chaired and participated in committees charged with curriculum development, teaching personnel, budget and many issues common to educational institutions.”

Former trustee William MacPherson served 22 years on the UCDSB as a trustee in Ward 2 and was defeated in the 2022 election.

MacPherson, a cash-crop and forage farmer from the Smiths Falls area, has also been a school bus driver for 47 years. A former municipal councillor, during his time at the UCDSB he served for 19 years on the Special Education Advisory Committee, including seven years as chair.

Active in the agricultural community throughout his life, he also has been involved with 4H and Junior Farmers.

Macpherson cited his communications and problem solving skills as positive attributes to the board.

“I quite often hear about the power of trustees. It is not about power, it is doing the best for our students and communities with the resources that we are given. It is not about power but duty.”

In his application to the board, MacPherson was the only one of the four candidates to mention Berry.

“I am applying for this position largely out of respect for Trustee Larry Berry,” MacPherson wrote. “Over the past four years, I came to know him as both a colleague and a friend. It would be an honour and a privilege to be selected to complete this term on behalf of Larry at the UCDSB.”

Former Ward 9 trustee John Danaher, who was elected in 2018 and opted not to seek re-election in 2022 is a retired educator from the Glengarry area.

Danaher taught for a number of years before moving into administration, eventually serving as principal at Glengarry District High School, Cornwall Collegiate and Vocational School, and Char-Lan District High School before retiring in 2013.

During the 2016-17 Pupil Accommodation Review process, Danaher served on the Accommodation Review Committee and the following year sought election as trustee. Dealing with health concerns in 2022, he did not run for another term, but said in his letter of intent that “medical results have been very positive and have afforded me the opportunity to apply for this vacancy.”

During his time on the board he served as one of two trustee representatives to Student Transportation of Eastern Ontario, the transportation consortium co-owned with the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario.

“It is my strong belief that Public Education is the cornerstone that provides support, hope and equality for our students and communities in Ontario today,” Danaher wrote. “I have always felt the importance and outcomes that a strong Public Education can provide to all learners and community members.”

The final candidate for trustee is Cornwall resident Ryan MacKay. MacKay contested the UCDSB trustee position for Ward 8 (Cornwall) in the 2022 against incumbent trustee David McDonald.

MacKay works in administration at Carleton University and is an active volunteer in his community. He chairs the parent council at Eamers Corners Public School, is a volunteer with Bereaved Families of Ontario (South Eastern Region), is on the board of the Cornwall Public Library, and serves on the Heritage Cornwall board.

“I believe that my candidacy brings a combination of personal investment, community involvement as well as work-related experience,” he wrote. “One of the major motivations behind my desire to see the best results in our public education is my own personal connection to the issues of the day.”

A father of two young children, he said that he sees the challenges in the system. MacKay’s wife also works for the UCDSB.

“This affords me the added perspective of seeing some of the issues from the staffing side of the equation,” he said adding his work experience in post-secondary education is a valuable asset. “The needs of our students encompass a much larger breadth than ever before. At this level, we are consistently fine tuning our pathways for success as we prepare them for whatever may come after their graduation. This ever-changing dynamic is not unique to post-secondary institutions.”

The four candidates were announced at the June 7 UCDSB board meeting, and all four will be interviewed by trustees at the June 21 board meeting.

Sitting UCDSB trustees will vote for Berry’s replacement at that meeting and the winner will be sworn in after being announced. Whoever is selected will serve the balance of the 2022-26 term of office.

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