Tuesday, April 30, 2013


When I was invited to speak at last year's Newfoundland and Labrador's Federation of School Council's Annual General Meeting, the thought of joining the executive was not on my agenda.

It was on Nathan Whalen's agenda. The young 18-year-old chair of the school council at Bishop's College was full of energy. He had great ideas, passion and the maturity of someone much old then he was. He ran for every position on the executive besides secretary. Unfortunately he was unsuccessful.

Instead of leaving with his tail between his legs, Nathan acted on a number of the action issues that he felt needed to be addressed in education. He also started to investigate how School Boards, in particular Eastern District, operated. 

Unable to get answers through the front door, the aggressive teenager started filing requests through access to information. He turned up some very interesting information on how these boards spend and the lack of transparency in some decision making. 

This spring he spearheaded a meeting with St. John's School Council representatives to discuss the impact of the Dunderdale Government's cuts on schools. Council representatives turned out to discuss their concerns about the amalgamation of the provinces' four school boards into one, administrative cuts and the impact of significant cuts to the special needs allocation.

His outspoken nature, passion and genuine concern was contagious. So much so that at this year's annual meeting his school council peers voted overwhelming for a fresh young face at the helmof the organization.

As a member of the executive, I look forward to the new energy, a focus on consultation and watching the Federation of School Council meet it's potential as an outspoken voice for parents and schools.

No comments: