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School board candidates galore

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There’s an interesting distinction between the two sets of candidates contesting school board by-elections. You’ll find the list here.

There are five candidates in Ward 2 of Louis Riel and six candidates in Ward 1 of Winnipeg School Division as of late afternoon today. Nominations close at 4:30 p.m. Friday.

Four of the WSD candidates have created websites, while none of the Louis Riel candidates has done so,

The WSD seat has been vacant since last spring when Liberal-turned-Tory Joyce Bateman went federal barely six months after being re-elected as a trustee.

Among those contesting the seat are Gerrit Theule and Ben Shedden, the only two among the 11 to contact the paper asking for coverage. They’ve both been mentioned in the dead trees edition.

Also in the race are:

  • Colleen McFadden, who built up considerable profile in her neighbourhood by leading the campaign to get a gym for Queenston School;
  • Evan Thompson, an engineer in management at Manitoba Hydro;
  • Mark Wasyliw, a lawyer who made a credible federal run for the NDP in 2006; and
  • Randy Znamirowski, who has a LinkedIn profile that describes him as a financial consultant with a lengthy career in municipal and hospital finance.

Only Wasyliw and Znamirowski lack a campaign website.

Of the five running in Louis Riel, I’ve been unable to find anything on the web about Sherry Liley. Mike Daoust is a former trustee who lost his seat in the October 2010 municipal election. Colleen Mayer appears to have been former city councillor Gord Steeves’ campaign manager in his unsuccessful bid to become an MLA.

Steeves’ leaving council prompted trustee Mike Ducharme to run for council, opening up the school board seat.

But back to the candidates.

Nancy Cooke has a Facebook site on which she asks people to tell her their issues. Jasmine Van Gerwen was out front recently for the latest batch of parents in Island Lakes and Southdale who object to their junior high kids having to take public transit to shop classes in high schools.

Meanwhile, in other compelling stuff...

I received an email this morning from a company in Wisconsin pitching the equipment needed to buy virtual field trips for schools. We had virtual field trips back in the day, in the 1950s — it involved sending a kid to the supply room to get the school’s projector and screen.

Sticking with emails at work...

I received an email from a Russian named John Smith — yes, seriously — who requested my autograph. Sorry, John, my level of computer literacy barely allows me to send you the passwords for my personal banking information, I have no idea how to take a pen and write my signature on the Internet.

Back to education...

We pay these enormous education property taxes to WSD, or at least we will until 2013 if Greg Selinger keeps his promise about Manitobans not having to pay school taxes when they hit 65, but nary a penny seems to go into a decent phone system.

I tried calling communications at WSD today, and once again, instead of going to voice mail, it rang a few times and then bounced to the assistant director, and instead of going to voice mail there, it rang a few times and bounced to the superintendents’ department, where I reached a human being, who transferred me back to communications voice mail.

Whirrr, buzz, click, one ringee dingee, two ringee dingees, and I get an MTS robot telling me that if I’ve finished punching in the number, I should push star.

Sigh.

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About Nick Martin

Nick Martin is the old bearded guy at the back of the newsroom, the most experienced reporter at the Winnipeg Free Press, having started his career in Ontario in 1971.

He’s been covering education for the Free Press since the spring of 1997, after decades primarily covering municipal politics, including a four-year stint at the Ontario legislature for the London Free Press.

Nick moved to Manitoba in 1988 with his Winnipeg-born wife, who is a professor at the University of Manitoba. They have two kids, both of whom graduated from Grant Park High School: son Chris and daughter Gillian.

Nick has won a national journalism award from the Canadian Association of University Teachers, two Manitoba Human Rights Journalism awards, and the Ontario Reporters Association investigative award.

Nick is a long-distance runner, having finished and survived 18 marathons and 15 half-marathons and 30-kilometre races, and having (barely) survived 10 years as an outdoor and indoor soccer coach.

Nick became a soccer referee in 2007, delighting in his 60s in outrunning 16-year-olds and keeping his distance from obstreperous coaches and parents.

Nick and his wife have discovered a mutual love for kayaking at their Whiteshell cottage, and are both regulars at the Reh-Fit Centre. They hold season tickets to both the Manitoba Theatre Centre and the Warehouse, and as empty nesters, have rediscovered the joys of an active winter vacation.

A native of Jarrow-on-Tyne, England, Nick is a member of the Toon Army as a Newcastle United supporter, and a proud citizen of Leafs Nation.

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