Windsor·#WEvotes

Meet the people running for the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board

19 people are running to be a Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board trustee. Here is a little bit about each one of them.

19 people running for 9 seats

WECDSB chambers (Meg Roberts/Twitter)

19 people are running for the 9 trustee seats that oversee the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board.

Candidates responded to an email questionnaire from CBC Windsor — answers may have been edited for clarity or because they exceeded the 280 character limit for the final two questions.

Windsor:  Wards 1/10 | Wards 2/9 | Wards 3/4 | Wards 5/8 | Wards 6/7
County:  LaSalle/Amherstburg | Essex/Kingsville/Leamington/Pelee | Lakeshore | Tecumseh

Windsor Wards 1/10

There are 3 candidates running for 1 position.

Kevin M. Homick
Email
(Kevin M. Homick)

Age: 60

Occupation: Retired to run for office

What is your most relevant experience for this position?
I have a unique understanding of the WECDSB, having worked in our schools as a maintenance, utility operator & qualified teacher. I have a B.A. in Education & Arts. Additionally, I am a paralegal & power engineer with invaluable knowledge of the legal aspects of the position.

What is the single biggest issue in your board?
Single biggest issue would be fiscal responsibility, with balanced budgets through transparency, while protecting our Catholic system. A program needs to be in place to help drug dependent/addicted students.

Joshua Pinese
Email
(Joshua Pinese)

Age: 33

Occupation: Operations manager at Cleardeck Systems Ltd. / Executive director (ice scheduler) at Windsor Minor Hockey Association

What is your most relevant experience for this position?
Being a manager at Cleardeck - overseeing all aspects regarding operations while continuously looking for improvements.

What is the single biggest issue in your board?
My biggest issue is to ensure that policies and resources are implemented and distributed fairly and evenly across the wards I wish to represent. There shouldn't be any disparities when dealing with the development of our future leaders.

Fulvio Valentinis
Email
(Fulvio Valentinis)

Age: 69

Occupation: Retired Professor/Lawyer

What is your most relevant experience for this position?
2 terms as Catholic School Board trustee - chair of management committee, chair of Budget committee, chair of Audit committee. 6 terms as City of Windsor councillor. Graduate of U. of Windsor Law School. Retired professor St. Clair College.

What is the single biggest issue in your board?
In an era of decreased funding continuing to strive for improvement and finding new ways to meet the needs of our students in an ever-changing world, while providing them with the knowledge and skills they need to achieve their goals and aspirations.

Windsor Wards 2/9

There are 2 candidates running for 1 position.

Xavier Gonzalez
Email | Website | Facebook | Twitter
(Xavier Gonzalez)

Age: 39

Occupation: Property manager

What is your most relevant experience for this position?
Instructor at Penn and Wharton. I know first hand what students need to gain admission and be successful at elite Ivy League universities. I want WECDSB students to have access to the best education during their stance at WECDSB and afterwards.

What is the single biggest issue in your board?
Due to recent news I want to ensure a confidential and anonymous line is functioning for anyone to report sexual harrassment or abuse by WECDSB employees. Parents should rest assured their children are safe and obtaining the best education possible.

Tony Polifroni
Email | Website | Facebook | Twitter
(Tony Polifroni)

Age: 43

Occupation: Business owner of a thrift store

What is your most relevant experience for this position?
I am the vice chairperson for St. Alphonsus Parish Council. The council is very similar to a board type setting. We have a say on issues with the establishment i.e. finances, building maintenance, etc. We also interact with the community. 

What is the single biggest issue in your board?
The sex ed curriculum and how the government plans to deal with it.

Windsor Wards 3/4

There are 3 candidates running for 1 position.

Andrew Furlong
​​​​​​Candidate did not reply to CBC questionnaire

Bernard Mastromattei
Email | Website
(Bernard Mastromattei)

Age: 69

Occupation: Retired Administrator/Professor

What is your most relevant experience for this position?
Have served on the board for the last 8 years. Over 35 years of experience teaching and performing volunteer community service. University of Windsor Faculty of Education instructor. Instrumental in the Ministry of Education allotting $26,000,000 for a new Catholic Central.

What is the single biggest issue in your board?
Maintain a strong Catholic presence and protect its values. Continue to reduce the capital debt. Sustain and continue to improve the highest EQAO test scores ever. I want to continue to represent Ward 3/4 city centre with its unique needs.

Eric Renaud
Email
(Eric Renaud)

Age: 27

Occupation: Self Employed

What is your most relevant experience for this position?
After seeing family members not get the support they need from the school I decided to run. I bring a world view that is different from the trustees.

What is the single biggest issue in your board?
The biggest issue is merging the administration of the Catholic and public school boards. With the Ford government making education across the province we need to make sure that those cuts don't affect student services.

Windsor Wards 5/8

There are 2 candidates running for 1 position.

Fred Alexander
Email
(Fred Alexander)

Age: 81

Occupation: Retired

What is your most relevant experience for this position?
33 yrs as an educator. 29 yrs spent in Windsor Catholic schools (FJ Brennan & Catholic Central). 18 yrs as a trustee representing Catholic school supporters in Windsor including 2 terms as chair. Very aware of the needs of the schools that I have proudly represented. 

What is the single biggest issue in your board?
To continue our strong emphasis on student achievement and on making improvements necessary for all our students to continue to grow and achieve in the safest possible environment built on caring and trust and in accordance with the teachings on Jesus Christ.

Jason Russell Lazarus
Email | Facebook
(Jason Russell Lazarus)

Age: 41

Occupation: University of Windsor student (Economics)

What is your most relevant experience for this position?
Chair of the WECDSB Parent Involvement Committee for 4 years, member 6 years, current secretary. Member of Catholic School Council 5 years. Member of Accommodation Review Committee. Two daughters in the Catholic system.

What is the single biggest issue in your board?
Trustees need to be responsive to parents' concerns and be their voice. Transparency should be the goal of every action. Schools in poorer neighbourhoods need the same access to resources as schools in wealthier neighbourhoods. 

Windsor Wards 6/7

There are 2 candidates running for 1 position.

Kim Bouchard
Email | Facebook
(Kim Bouchard)

Age: Old enough to have nine kids

Occupation: Working full time as a geographer/environmental consultant

What is your most relevant experience for this position?
Mom of 9 kids who have attended WECDSB schools for the past 25 years and counting. A member of school parent councils in my Wards for last 16 years and on the Board's Parent Involvement Committee for the last 6 years, working with trustees, administration, teachers and parents.

What is the single biggest issue in your board?
Continuing to develop and expand upon unique and diverse educational opportunities for all of the students in our Board while preserving the excellence found in Catholic education.

Jeremy Renaud​
Email | Website | Facebook
(Jeremy Renaud)

Age: 41

Occupation: Instructor, Sport & Recreation Management, St. Clair College / General Manager, Windsor ComiCon / Assistant General Manager, TFcon Canada, TFcon USA and Star Wars Collectors Expo / Operations Manager, Sport Card & Memorabilia Expo.

What is your most relevant experience for this position?
18 Years Experience in Public, Private and Non-Profit Sectors. 12 Years Combined Board Governance Experience. Product of the Separate School Board System. Graduate Level Education and Teaching Experience. Diverse Experience with Students, Staff, Media, Volunteers and Public.

What is the single biggest issue in your board?
A focus on mental health inclusive of physical literacy and access to resources through community partnerships.​

LaSalle/Amherstburg

​There are 3 candidates running for 1 position.

Frank Di Tomasso
​​​​​​Candidate did not reply to CBC questionnaire

Francis Ducharme​
​​​​​​Candidate did not reply to CBC questionnaire

Kim Rathbone
Email | Website
(Kim Rathbone)

Age: 41

Occupation: Police Constable

What is your most relevant experience for this position?
Fortunately I have worked within the education system as a police officer and have been a part of school and community liaison committees. This has allowed me to build trusting relationships with members of the community and members employed by the Catholic School Board.

What is the single biggest issue in your board?
Accountability. The efficiency and effectiveness of policies, procedures and resources need to be addressed and, if need be, improved upon; Focusing on the changing needs of our students and school communities. 

Essex/Kingsville/Leamington/Pelee

​There are 2 candidates running for 1 position.

​Mary DiMenna
Email | Facebook
(Mary DiMenna)

Age: 68

Occupation: Director of Operations for JAG World Wide Imports 

What is your most relevant experience for this position?
49 years of active involvement in Catholic education. Taught for 33 years giving me first-hand knowledge of the needs in our classrooms to help students succeed. Vice-chair of the WECDSB for 9 years. Served as a trustee since Dec. 2003 to the present on board committees. 

What is the single biggest issue in your board?
Never just one issue facing school boards. Student achievement - we need to make sure our test scores remain above the provincial average. A balanced budget - have made difficult decisions, need to carefully watch the budget due to declining enrolment facing school boards.

Derek Thachuk
Email | Website
(Derek Thachuk)

Age: 49

Occupation: I am in my 27th year of employment with the City of Windsor. In my current role, I work in Facilities managing construction projects on City owned buildings.

What is your most relevant experience for this position?
Married to Louise for 25 years. We have six children, 2 have graduated and 4 are current students at the WECDSB. I have served on the Parent Council executive at both Cardinal Carter Secondary and Holy Name of Jesus Elementary schools for 6 years, as well as 2 years on PIC.

What is the single biggest issue in your board?
Christ – in relationship fed by sacred scripture and sacraments. Character – built upon learned virtues. Curriculum – developing skills & knowledge. Community – for meaningful support & participation. These are the four pillars that I believe underpin Catholic education.

Lakeshore

The candidate for this position has been acclaimed.

Lisa Soulliere
​​​​​​Candidate did not reply to CBC questionnaire

Tecumseh

The candidate for this position has been acclaimed.

Mary Heath
Email
(Mary Heath)

Age: 62 years young

Occupation: Pastoral Minister – Heavenly Rest Family of Catholic Cemeteries, Diocese of London. Offering spiritual support to families who have experienced the death of a loved one; providing graveside prayers, prayers at the funeral home and gatherings for the bereaved for the past seven years.

What is your most relevant experience for this position?
Catholic school grad; practicing Catholic; Parish/Diocese volunteer, liturgical ministries/faith formation; B. MA; B. Ed; MA Pastoral Ministry; Former Pastoral Minister, St. William Church; Former supply teacher & Adult Faith Animator - WECDSB. Married to Rick, 39 yrs; 4 children.

What is the single biggest issue in your board?
Our board remains fiscally responsible and committed to a faith based education and formation for our students and families; discerning and meeting the needs of our students and families and providing the best faith based education for their success.

About the Author

Jonathan Pinto is the host of Up North, CBC Radio One's regional afternoon show for Northern Ontario and is based in Sudbury. He was formerly a reporter/editor and an associate producer at CBC Windsor. Email jonathan.pinto@cbc.ca.

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