LETTERS: An open letter to education partners from the outgoing trustee

An unconditional embrace of the incoming trustee

To the Expositor:

As you are aware, I am serving out my final term as Rainbow District School Board Trustee with somewhat a cloud over my head not being welcome at the board table but being told I am still welcome to perform my role as a trustee elsewhere. To that end I share with you my farewell to a team of exemplary persons.

I welcome an unconditional embrace to the incoming trustee, Margaret Stringer who, along with her husband Jim Stringer, is also no stranger to our Island team.  I am so excited with Margaret taking the reigns of Manitoulin Trustee. In keeping with my “shoot from the hip type of verbal expressions” I do feel there may be a small challenge for her to viewing how her role as trustee differs and looking through that lens (of a trustee) as opposed to the role of administrator. The transition from administrator to trustee is not without differences as with any life skill change. That difference will be challenging, for certain, and I have no concerns she will rise above, in short order, the sometimes difficult obstacle I anticipate on my own feelings. I hope you will join me in welcoming such a rich resource as Margaret.

I would like to take this opportunity to explain and as you are probably aware I do have a disability I must deal with as a result of a stroke I suffered some years ago. I share as explanation that my constant actions of taking copious notes and asking you to repeat any misunderstanding I had/have is in my disability that requires me to ask questions to ensure clarity on my part.  Having said that, I ask you to continue, as you all have done so diligently, to invite your trustee to participate in student-centered events. That is the ultimate reward for an elected trustee to have your outreach of inclusiveness. While there are those who are not in agreement at a higher level, with this process, I have requested the Director of Education and the Chair of the Board to ensure this is followed. Again, speaking to my disability, I found through my 15 years plus as trustee of the Rainbow Board, my emotions were stirred easily with some of the exemplary efforts of your students.

I leave this, probably my final letter of appreciation, for all you do, in my capacity as a public school trustee assuring you of my elation with what you do so well, that despite difficulties not created by you, our staff have, under your immediate and present daily supervision, delivered a “world class” education and environment to our kids, consistently year after year. This holds true of all our schools and its staff in or out of classroom.

As a requirement of the Director of Education and the Chair of the Board, I have made these comments on my own behalf and do not speak on behalf of the Board.

Again, thanks for the years of pleasure and being allowed to witness and to share in the collective happiness and be able to view changes that the miracle of being a teacher can only bring to pass.

In closing I wish each and every one of you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Thanks, merci beaucoup, chi-miigwetch.

With highest regard and respect,

Larry Killens

Outgoing Manitoulin Island trustee of the board