Message from the President For the past year, I have been honoured to serve as President of the Canadian School Boards Association. Our Board of Directors, comprised of the President of each provincial association, has been wonderful to work with as colleagues and strong advocates for public education in Canada. I would like to take this opportunity to commend them for their dedication and support, not only for CSBA, but also for their respective provincial associations and school boards. A tremendous amount of work has been achieved this year. Please find details on the collective efforts of the association throughout this report. In November, we were very fortunate to hire a new Executive Director, Nancy Pynch-Worthylake. Many of you will remember Nancy, specifically from her time as Executive Director of the Nova Scotia School Boards Association. Nancy is a career educator, as she has been a teacher, Director, Superintendent of Schools and Executive Director of the Nova Scotia School Boards Association. Since joining the CSBA, Nancy has been very busy supporting the review of our strategic plan, national advocacy work, and our own governance approach. We look forward to continuing to work with Nancy as she provides leadership and support to our association. Trustees across the country are passionate about public education and students. That is why we serve in our communities - advocating for students, working with school communities, collaborating with education partners, and promoting confidence in public education to keep education as a priority for provincial governments. However, now more than ever, we need to speak up on behalf of Canada’s oldest form of democratic representation dedicated to student achievement by demonstrating the value, accountability and integrity of local school boards in all provinces. Together as a Board of Directors, we have initiated a national advocacy strategy on the value of publicly elected local school boards as a component of student success and fundamental democratic rights in Canada, collaborating to strengthen our voice. We continue to work on this plan and support provincial associations with their advocacy initiatives, lending a national voice whenever appropriate. The concerns surrounding the erosion of democratic voice in public education spans provincial borders and languages. This time last year, we were having our annual congress in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where school boards had just been eliminated and we are already hearing about the impacts just one year later. I have said it before, and will continue to say: Any reduction of democratic representation in the governance of public education must be a concern to all Canadians, regardless of whether their first language is French or English, and whether or not they have school-aged children. Another very important area of work for the CSBA continues to be Indigenous education. We have been fortunate to have passionate, talented, educated people sit on our committee to collaborate and bring forth ways to promote Indigenous education across Canada. Our partnership with the Assembly of First Nations is one of tremendous value in this work as we support the TRC calls to action. It has been a busy year for the CSBA, and I am very proud of the work we are all doing collectively to support public education across the country. Yours in education, Laurie French