Jim Watters is seeking his sixth term as a Red Deer public school trustee to ensure all students have the best possible learning opportunities.
“And the key word is ALL students,” stressed the incumbent candidate. “I want to remove the barriers.”
He stands by his district’s inclusion policies, which go back to 1999 when the first straight-gay alliance was formed at Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School. It was also the first school in the city to offer gender-neutral bathrooms.
“When kids come into a classroom, they come in all different shapes and packages,” added Watters. “It’s important not to exclude anyone … We need to work on making them successful and getting them to believe in themselves.”
What happens to youths before and after school can be as impactful to their performance as what takes place in the classroom, said Watters, so he’s pleased teachers now have many supports: educational and learning assistants, councillors and community liaison workers.
The father and grandfather takes every chance to visit schools. “I am a visual learner. I need to see it.” He believes this helps him stay current on issues.
Sitting on the school board requires working with other trustees to come up with a shared vision and common goals — such as keeping the most possible funding in the classroom. “It’s all about rolling in the same direction,” said Watters, who feels board members have a good team approach.