December 7, 2022
LDCSB Inaugural Speech – L. Steel, Chair
Good evening: Father Jim, Fellow Trustees, Director Romeo, Senior Administration, Staff, Family Members, and Guests,
For the past two years I identified parent engagement and the parent voice as my area of focus. There is still much work to be done in this area as we move out of the pandemic, and it remains an area we need to continue prioritize and support because parent engagement contributes directly to student success and well-being; however, this year I am shifting my primary focus.
“I believe the children are our future Teach them well and let them lead the way Show them all the beauty they possess inside Give them a sense of pride to make it easier Let the children's laughter remind us how we used to be”
In 1977 Michael Masser wrote those beautiful words for Whitney Houston.
45 years later, (hard to believe it has been that long! I am dating myself!) as I thought on what I wanted to say for this inaugural these words kept resonating in my head. They reflect exactly what I want to see and what I want us to focus on this year.
As a Board, I want us to focus on empowering our students through the lens of equity and inclusion. In collaboration with our wonderful Student Trustees, initiatives are being put in place to engage our students and actively solicit their voices. Through both the Student Senate and the Student Cabinet we have the vehicles necessary to hear directly from our students on important issues, and for them to raise issues on their own. There will be reach out to our BIPOC clubs, Social Justice clubs and Grand Confederacy Council. They will be hosting events and social media campaigns on a monthly basis highlighting the themes for Catholic Education Week. Our Equity and Inclusion Policy is out for First Reading and I am excited to see their input. It is important we encourage and support the student voice and develop meaningful opportunities for our students to be heard and recognized as having a say in their current educational lives and future.
It is also important to recognize our dedicated front line educators who teach, support, and encourage these students every day - helping them reach their full potential academically, mentally, and spiritually. I am grateful for their unwavering commitment to the students and families we serve. They deserve our sincere thanks and support.
As the Board of Trustees I feel we also have an active role to play in empowering our students. How do we engage with our students, especially those who are marginalized or under represented? In our Christ-centred/Student-centred education system how do we directly connect with the students and families we serve? This will be a topic for Board discussion in the New Year.
I am excited and hopeful for the year ahead and for the next 4 years with our new Board of Trustees. Thank you to my fellow Trustees for running for election and agreeing serve on the London District Catholic School Board. And thank you for trusting in me to serve again as Chair of the Board.
We have an excellent senior team with outstanding expertise. We have the leadership of Director Vince Romeo who is collegial collaborative and committed, with a clear vision of where we need to grow. We have Father Jim Mockler as our Board Chaplain whose sage advice and guidance we can and do rely on. We have our Executive Assistant Lucy Da Costa who we rely on for almost everything else and sometimes some guidance as well. And we have our amazing staff here at the Catholic Education Centre and all across our system. We are all in this together and together we are stronger. And with that strength, we will cross the road for our neighbours and further build the inclusive equitable welcoming educational community we aspire to.
With our faith at the forefront, and the compassion it brings, I have every confidence we are very well positioned to meet the challenges ahead and the needs of the students and families we serve.
I wish you all a Healthy, Happy, Holy Christmas and a Blessed New Year!
Chair, London District Catholic School Board