Nancy Rothwell elected Avon Maitland school board chair

NORTH PERTH – At the inaugural board meeting on Nov. 15 for the Avon Maitland District School Board (AMDSB), North Perth Trustee Nancy Rothwell was elected chair for the board.

“It is exciting to have this opportunity,” stated Rothwell in a recent interview with the Listowel Banner.

“I strive to advocate for a strong public education system within Huron and Perth counties and the province. I want to ensure we are raising great future global citizens with a curiosity to continue to learn every day, alongside social and emotional well being,” stated Rothwell on AMDSB’s Meet Our Trustees webpage.

“A trustee is a member of a district school board who are locally-elected representatives of the public and responsible for complying with the board’s code of conduct. Individuals represent their communities and all groups within the community,” stated the AMDSB Trustee Role Overview. (The board is) responsible for overseeing the student achievement and wellbeing focus of the education system as related to the Strategic Plan while overseeing a budget of approximately $200 million. (They are) responsible for supporting the Director of Education and their staff who handle the day-to-day operations of the board, while providing input on decisions that affect our public education system.”

“I think it is also important for people to understand the role of the trustee,” expressed Rothwell, “Trustees are an advocate for public education.”

Rothwell is in her third term as trustee, beginning her journey back in 2014. She lives in the Elma Ward of North Perth with her husband, and returned to her roots to raise her four children, after having grown up in Elma Township on a dairy farm.

There are nine trustees that represent the AMDSB Board of Trustees for Huron and Perth counties. This past election, her position as Trustee for North Perth was acclaimed, however, at the Nov. 15 meeting, she was voted chair, a year-long position.

“You do a year-long term as chair, and you do the best job you can,” stated Rothwell.

This past year serving on the board, she worked as vice-chair and ultimately chair, when a previous trustee took a leave of absence.

“We are a pretty new board, there were only two returning trustees from the previous board.”

One of the board’s main goals is to build up this new team of trustees. When asked what she thinks the biggest challenge to this board is, Rothwell explained that there are both educational and municipal challenges.

“The continuing challenges in education, in general, is recovering from the pandemic. It’s the student learning gaps and staff and student stress, from the shift from online to in person and back and forth.”

However, Rothwell also explains that due to North Perth’s large growth, schools are “filling up” and are running out of room. They have in place long-term solutions such as additions to be added to schools, however Rothwell worries it may not be enough.

“Our growth still could supersede that.”

Overall, Rothwell wants the community to know that she’s available and more than willing to lend a listening ear.

“I’m totally approachable,” explains Rothwell.

To contact Chair Rothwell, call 519-502-7250 or email nancy.rothwell@ed.amdsb.ca.

Melissa Dunphy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Listowel Banner