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bwdsb building I am delighted and humbled to share this initial message as I step into the role of Director of Education for Bluewater District School Board. I am truly thankful for this amazing opportunity, and I look forward to continuing to nurture and build relationships with our students, staff, families, trustees, and union and community partners in this role.

As I make this transition, I would like to acknowledge my predecessor and retiring director, Alana Murray, for all the wonderful work she has done serving our board. I have been honoured to work with Alana for many years, and know I am not alone in expressing just how much she will be missed. Her deep compassion for students and colleagues, knowledge, critical thinking skills, and leadership have been such tremendous assets. Thank you for all you have done for public education, and enjoy your well-deserved retirement, Alana.

I have proudly dedicated my whole career to Bluewater. I feel very privileged to have raised two children, worked, and played in our local area. The rural lifestyle and sense of community pride, spirit, and civic engagement across Grey and Bruce counties are truly unique. I appreciate and have an intimate understanding of the importance of rural education, and the need to be creative and innovative to ensure improved student achievement.

Improving student learning is the most important mandate of our schools, and focusing on the social, emotional, physical, and personal well-being of students and staff is a necessity to support that obligation. It is my belief that if you make a child feel good about themselves, in any way, big or small, they will not only learn, but will also want to learn. The same can be said for our staff. Ensuring staff feel appreciated, respected, valued, and that their voices are heard will lead to better engagement in supporting our students and organization to the very best of their abilities.

There are some key areas that I consider to be extremely important in helping to guide my focus in the director’s role, and in achieving our Multi-Year Strategic Plan. In my many years as a superintendent and in other positions with Bluewater, equity has been at the forefront of my work and decisions. I believe strongly in a culture that, in addition to valuing academics, recognizes the individuality of each person who is part of that community. Trustees, parents/guardians, students, all staff, partners, and community members must work together in a spirit of true partnership for this to flourish. I value a leadership style that strives for trusting relationships with all, effective communication, and encouraging highly successful teams.

Despite our current situation with COVID-19, I know that we will get through these challenging times together. This summer will be a bit different as we plan for the safe reopening of schools in September, and I fully recognize the high level of uncertainty that our students, staff, and families are feeling. While we do not have all the answers right now, our planning team is already fully engaged in laying the groundwork for the various possible scenarios outlined recently by the provincial government. To help inform our planning in meeting the needs of our Bluewater students and families, we will soon be providing an opportunity for parent/guardian feedback. Above all else, I am deeply committed to keeping the lines of communication open with our families and staff so that everyone stays informed regarding our reopening plans.

Take care and have a safe and happy summer.

Lori Wilder
Director of Education

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