Rob’s interest in the Greater Victoria School Board and school district administration originated in his profound disappointment in the manner in which the protracted, and at times violent, bullying of one of his children was ineffectually addressed by administration, at the school and district levels, and ultimately by the School Board itself. While their situation was ultimately resolved, Rob and wife Kristi were struck by how fundamental safeguards were not in place to ensure that incidents of this sort would not occur in the future.
As Rob attended Board meetings, he quickly came to realize that beyond this single issue, there were many aspects of the Board’s approach to public education that could benefit from broader engagement with students, parents, teachers and administration, new ideas and greater accountability. Making the choice to be part of the solution, Rob ran for SD61 School Board trustee in 2011. Although ultimately unsuccessful, the experience was a positive one, providing the occasion to engage with parents and other interested citizens to discuss matters of importance and possible solutions. It was also a valuable learning opportunity regarding the democratic process and the realities of local government politics.
As a member of the public, Rob has attended the vast majority of Board meetings over the past three years, making proposals respecting budget transparency, reporting on class size and composition and the need for long term strategic planning to support decision making. Since 2012, Rob has been a member of the District’s Culture and Community Committee working to improve the school environment for all members of our community.
Of all these efforts, Rob is proudest of his a role in encouraging middle and central schools to adopt a Whole School Approach to Suicide Awareness Education. Together with Trustee Edith Loring-Kuhanga, Rob coordinated guest speakers including suicide prevention educators, academics and others and presented himself to paint a compelling case that ultimately gained the support of board members. Since the passage of that motion there has been a significant increase in the numbers of teachers, staff and students receiving this training across the district.
In 2014, Rob is campaigning on the principle that trustees, as the public’s elected representatives, must play an active and positive role in guiding the School District. This will involve proactive and meaningful engagement of students, parents, partner groups and members of the public; collaboration with external agencies and other levels of government; and, a commitment to transparent and accountable decision making. For more information about Rob, his platform and his perspectives please visit:
Facebook: Rob Paynter for Trustee
(Authorized by Kris Repay, Financial Agent for Rob Paynter)