Carlene Rummery believes that "every parent needs to know they have a voice."
That’s one of the reasons why the 43-year-old south St. Vital resident has announced her candidacy for school trustee in Louis Riel School Division.
Rummery, who is married to Randy and has a 13-year-old daughter who attends École Marie-Anne-Gaboury, will be running for a seat on the school board in Ward 3. The ward is currently served by trustees Sandy Nemeth and Dave Richardson, as well as Wayne Ruff, who is set to retire.
An active volunteer in her daughter’s school, Rummery has been a member of its parent advisory council for the past seven years, serving as president for the past two (the role is effective until Sept. 15.). Before that, she sat on the board of her daughter’s preschool at Greendell Park Community Centre.
Rummery believes parents shouldn’t feel as if they are "looking in" when it comes to important school board decisions which affect their children’s education and impact their lives of their families. While she acknowledges the work of the board in the last few years, sometimes in difficult circumstances, she feels more communication and engagement is needed.
"I’ve witnessed first-hand the division working to do what is best for students and the community, on the whole, over the past few years," Rummery said. "I’ve also witnessed parents feeling as though the division hasn’t adequately addressed their concerns.
"The division needs to expand upon its efforts to reach out to, and communicate with, parents. And more should be done to encourage parents to take active roles in the discussions. One of the single best ways to build a nurturing school community is through parent involvement. Parents can be — and should be — involved with their children’s schools and with LRSD as a whole."
Rummery said events that occurred in the division during the past academic year — which saw English program George McDowell School reconfigured as a Grades 6 to 8 single-track French immersion middle years school, and École Julie-Riel and École St. Germain reconfigured as Grades K to 5 early years single-track French immersion schools — further encouraged her to throw her name in the ring.
"Some children are being uprooted and some families are not happy. Some parents felt community consultation was lacking in the process, which is one thing the board and the division need to improve on," she said.
Rummery added that access to information is important for parents who may not have the time or inclination to navigate board meeting minutes or policy-related information.
"No one wants to sift through pages and pages of minutes from these meetings. I read a lot and I find myself glazing over. Talking to parents, I’ve heard suggestions like bullet points and easy to read summaries."
Rummery’s professional roles include executive editor of Prairie books NOW and managing editor of Pediatric Pulmonology.
"Our family lives in this ward and my daughter still has another five years in this division. It’s important to me to represent my neighbours — the people who live near me. I wouldn’t consider running in a ward I didn’t live in. While the board acts as a whole, residents have concerns specific to the schools in their immediate area," Rummery said.
For more information, go online at https:/www.facebook.com/carlene.rummery