Municipal Election 2014

Why Experience Counts in Run for Public School Trustee (Candidate Submission)

Please read my thoughts on why I believe experience counts in the run for Ward 7 – Hamilton Central Mountain – Public School Trustee.

By Dawn Danko
Published October 24, 2014

As my campaign for Ward 7 – Hamilton Central Mountain – Public School Trustee is wrapping up, I though I would share my thoughts on why I believe that it is important to have a trustee candidate with bonafide real world experience working for you.

Please read my thoughts on why I believe experience counts in the run for Ward 7 – Hamilton Central Mountain – Public School Trustee.

It has been an interesting campaign to say the least.

I am very proud of each and every trustee candidate that has had the courage to throw their hat into the ring – it is not easy to put yourself out there.

Everyone running has a passion for public education in Hamilton – but sometimes passion is not enough.

I live in a world where my professional qualifications and credentials define my career path.

When considering which Ward 7 – Hamilton Central Mountain trustee candidate deserves your vote, I encourage you to remember that Hamilton Public School Trustees are responsible to manage a $500 million dollar annual budget and oversee the education of fifty thousand students.

Proven Leadership

It takes time and real life experience to learn what it takes to be a true leader.

In my professional capacity as a college professor, my job is to be a role model and lead my students by example.

During the recent round of school closures on the central mountain, my leadership together with the tenacious drive of many members of our community was successful in saving our local school.

That success does not come without regret – in particular for the communities that are now losing their local elementary school or facing unwanted programming changes.

However, it is exactly that type of proven leadership that I intend to bring to the public school board – as I work to represent all of our central mountain schools.

Education Credentials

Nobody likes a know-it-all with a string of educational credentials after their name.

But the truth is, you probably expect your doctor to have a medical doctorate. You probably expect the lawyer who finalizes the purchase agreement for your house to have a law degree. You probably expect the engineer who designed your office tower to have an engineering degree.

So why would you expect anything less from an elected public school trustee in charge of the education of fifty thousand students?

I hold a Master’s degree in education. That means that I know which educational approaches are proven to work and what doesn’t.

But, more importantly, it means that I know what questions to ask before new educational policy is adapted, how to properly evaluate the results of existing policy and how formal research should be conducted before new educational techniques are introduced to the classroom.

In my opinion, that level of formal training in education is an invaluable asset for a public school trustee.

Teaching Experience

Teachers in the classroom are the cornerstone of our public education system.

As a teacher in the classroom myself, I have a unique appreciation for the challenges facing both teachers and students as our public education system evolves to prepare our students for the fast paced modern world they will be a part of.

The board administrative executives like to talk about “technology in the classroom”, “21st century learning” and other catch phrases – but there seems to be a disconnect as to how these technologies will actually be implemented in the classroom.

I have hands on experience teaching with actual technology in the classroom. Teaching students to use a linear accelerator to treat cancer with radiation is not that different from teaching students how to use an iPad – in both cases the end result should be to produce students that understand technology as a tool to solve real world problems.

Small Business Owner

One of the biggest challenges to our public school system is finding funding to properly maintain and upgrade our existing school infrastructure.

As a small business owner, I am constantly reviewing business opportunities to generate additional revenue from assets that I already own – and I intend to bring that same attitude to the public school board.

One of the contributions that I am most excited to bring to the board is my drive to change our existing schools from 9:00 to 3:15 education facilities to bustling community hubs.

However, the type of community hub that I envision is not in the traditional sense where the Board pays for the facilities and provides access at little to no cost.

To a business person, a large building that doesn’t pay taxes and is only used by it’s primary tenant between 9:00 am to 3:15 pm five days a week is a huge business opportunity.

I am interested in utilizing school buildings in a way similar to the increasingly popular co-working office space model.

With the right kinds of community partnerships and tenants – yoga classes, child care centers, fitness clubs, meeting and office space, pick up sports, theatre and dance groups, art classes etc. – I would like to see our schools become bustling, profitable, community spaces.


I am the married mother of two children currently in public school.

I believe that being a parent with children currently in the public school system is critical to understand the educational environment and challenges facing students.

Real World Experience Counts

I hope that you agree with me – and that I can count on your vote on October 27th, 2014.

Thank you!

Dawn Danko is a candidate for Public School Trustee in Ward 7, Hamilton Central Mountain.


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