Suzanne Ruttan has been the South Frontenac Township trustee to the Limestone District School Board since 2010. She has served as the Board Vice Chair for the past three years, and when the new Board was sworn to office last night in Kingston, she assumed the role of Chair of the Board of Trustees for 2019.
“We held elections for officers and committee appointments at a working meeting last week,” she said when interviewed on Tuesday, and I put my name forward and ended up being the only candidate. There was an election for Vice-Chair and the position ended up going to Laurie French, another veteran trustee who represents Napanee.
Ruttan and French are two of only three returning members on the 9-member board, the third being Karen McGregor from Central and North Frontenac and Addington Highlands.
“We have a lot of new trustees,” said Ruttan, “and my goal is to make sure that they have the best start that they can.
There were orientation sessions for the new board of trustees in November, and one aspect of the training was to clarify for the trustees that we function as a governance board, and as such do not have a direct role in the day to day functioning of the board and its schools.
“As a governance board, we are totally focussed on the big picture of the whole board, making sure we are following our strategic directions at all times. As a Board, we have one employee to oversee, the Director of Education.”
As board Chair, Ruttan is responsible, with help from the director, for setting meeting agendas and ensuring the smooth running of the board. She will also be called upon to speak on behalf of the board from time to time. However, she pointed out, only under explicit instructions from the board. The position also includes ceremonial responsibilities, representing the Limestone Board at meetings and public events.
She said that new board could be dealing with some major issues in its first year. Community consultations are underway for changes to the health curriculum, which should be coming out early in early 2019.
“The minister spoke to our provincial group last weekend, and I believe her message was that the group ‘will be pleased when we see what comes out’ of that process. We also know that when the government is looking for budget savings, they are going to look at education, so that may have an impact on our board. 2019 is also a bargaining year for education,” she said.
There is a one-year term for the position of Chair of the Limestone Board of Trustees. Ruttan can run again for 2020 if she chooses to, as can any of the 8 other board members.