2014 Winnipeg Civic Election

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John Toews

incumbent

Election Website

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Questionnaire: Read John's Answers

John Toews

Candidate in the 2014 River East - Transcona - 2 School Ward race.

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Questionnaire Response

Why did you decide to run in the 2014 School Board Election?

On Easter Sunday 2006 our family experienced firsthand what happens when the "system" lets a child down. There was no one from the health care system to advocate for our 15 year old son. We placed our faith in the system and he died from an undiagnosed case of bacterial meningitis. He had been ill for several weeks and had all of the classic symptoms. However, he was sent home from the emergency ward and within 2 days we were back. Our son passed away in the hospital less than 48 hours later.

In October 2006 with encouragement from families in the community I decided to run and was fortunate to be elected. This community gave our family their support when we needed it most. For me being a school trustee is not a stepping stone for a future career in politics. Rather, it allows me the opportunity to "give back" by being a strong advocate for the children.

I am grateful to our community for giving me purpose and their trust over the past 8 years and to continue to serve would be an honour. This is for my sons James and his big brother "Little" John (1991-2006).

What experience will you bring to compliment your role as School Trustee?

The experience I have gained over the last 2 terms along with my education (BA-Honours degree with my thesis in developmental child psychology) has been invaluable. I, along with my wife Wendy have lived in Ward 2 since 1988.Our sons John and James attended schools in the ward with James graduating in 2011 from Kildonan-East Collegiate.

I also have sat on 4 parent advisory councils and understand the challenges they sometimes face. As being the only incumbent I know very well the strengths and the weaknesses within our school division. It is with this knowledge and experience that I will continue to strive to move our school division forward. I also have had the opportunity to sit on liaison and negotiation committees as well as all standing board committees.

Further, I feel that I have good working relationship with our local MLAs and city councillors as well as with the aboriginal leaders in our community. I have always and will continue to make myself available to all stakeholders.

Finally, I was raised in a family with strong core values with the philosophy that one must always do the right thing no matter how difficult and unpopular that decision may be.

What are some issues that you would like to stand for in your role as School Trustee, and why are these issues important to you?

I have always been a strong supporter of the literacy and numeracy initiatives that have been implemented. The ability to read and to comprehend what was read is of paramount importance. Math skills are also crucial and are constantly required throughout one's life. These core skills cannot and shouldn't ever be under estimated in their importance in education. I will continue to push for more resources in these areas with this in mind.

I also understand the importance of technology but there must be an educational value to it. However, the present 5 year replacement program may need to be reviewed but because of our small commercial tax base we have to consider the cost to the taxpayer.

Since becoming a parent in 1991 I have never heard one parent complain about a lack of technology in the classroom. Rather, their constant concern is about how there should be more emphasis on the basics skills. I agree fully and hopefully we'll see a continued shift in emphasis in the provincial curriculum, in which we as school divisions must follow, towards these core skills.

We also need to continue to work harder at keeping our school environment safe – for everyone.

What is one thing in particular that you appreciate about the school ward or school division you wish to represent?

Our school division excels in many areas but there will always be room for improvement. Our special needs programming is well known throughout the province. We have vibrant International Baccalaureate (IB) and Advanced Placement (AP) programs. There also has been a refocus of more resources on reading and writing skills. Further, the recently developed specialized learning environment for at risk students is proving to be a success in keeping students in high school.

This focus on trying to engage students in their education and how important education is to their future is a goal that is emphasised by all division employees. Whether it is the classroom teacher or the school custodian they all understand that they have a role to play in a student's success in school.

Our vocational programing is excellent and has produced winners in worldwide competitions. My son, James, who recently graduated with a duel diploma is presently apprenticing in the HVAC trade which he loves.

The opportunities offered to our students are phenomenal. I have had the pleasure to interview students who have been nominated for divisional gold medals. Though there can be only one winner I have been impressed by the caliber of the nominees.

Do you have any other comments regarding your candidacy?

First, I would like to thank Open Democracy Manitoba for creating this website. Over the last 8 years my wife, who is an educator, and I have had some interesting conversations with both the educator's perspective and the trustee's perspective being represented. We are almost always on the same page.

When the province makes changes in curriculum, etc. her perspective is from how this affects the classroom environment and her teaching of the students. In other words her perspective is from an operational position. My perspective on the other hand is from a governance standpoint which involves looking at the big picture on how this affects the school division as a whole including students as well as the taxpaying homeowner. Often this is where we run into difficulties. We may both agree in theory but it's with the implementation and its consequences financially where we run into problems.

As a board it often comes down to cost because of inequities in provincial funding to school divisions. We as a board set direction but it is the educators that are responsible for the operational decisions. We depend on their expertise when it comes to how the curriculum is implemented and taught.


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News that Mentions John Toews

News articles are automatically gathered from Google News by searching for the full names of the candidates in the upcoming election. More details.

Trustees elected in RETSD, WSD

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

In addition to voting for mayor and city council, voters in northeast Winnipeg also elected school trustees on Oct. 22. Below is a list of winners, according to unofficial final results, throughout the River East Transcona School Division (RETSD) and ...

Voters send aboriginal school trustees packing

Friday, 29 October 2010

School Trustees · River East Transcona: Ward 2. Oct 14th 11:22 PM 0. WARD 2 (1 to be elected). Did not respond: Gurpreet Brar. John Toews. School Trustees · River East Transcona: Ward 1. Oct 14th 11:21 PM 8. WARD 1 (2 to be elected). | David Kendall. 1.

Incumbent school trustees fall all over town

Thursday, 28 October 2010

They'll need a few weeks just to remember each others' names around the school board table in St. James-Assiniboia School Division -- only three incumbent trustees are coming back. Two incumbents lost their seats Wednesday and four retired. It's one of ...

Pay attention, class

Saturday, 25 September 2010

School Trustees · River East Transcona: Ward 2. Oct 14th 11:22 PM 0. WARD 2 (1 to be elected). Did not respond: Gurpreet Brar. John Toews. School Trustees · River East Transcona: Ward 1. Oct 14th 11:21 PM 8. WARD 1 (2 to be elected). | David Kendall. 1.

School board contests shrink

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

School Trustees · River East Transcona: Ward 2. Oct 14th 11:22 PM 0. WARD 2 (1 to be elected). Did not respond: Gurpreet Brar. John Toews. School Trustees · River East Transcona: Ward 1. Oct 14th 11:21 PM 8. WARD 1 (2 to be elected). | David Kendall. 1.


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