Today, we say goodbye to Kitchener trustee, Natalie Waddell.

In April, the Waterloo Region District School Board (WRDSB) trustee announced that she is vacating her position as a representative for Kitchener.

“I would like to thank Trustee Waddell for her advocacy on behalf of our students, families, and community members, especially in the areas of special education,” said Chairperson Jayne Herring. “Her commitment to advocating for children and adults with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) will be missed at the Board table and in the community. We are extremely grateful for her commitment over the past six years, and we wish her all the best in her next chapter.”

Trustee Waddell took her seat at the Board table in December 2014, and during her time as a trustee, she was proud to be a part of change.

“There are so many things that the Board of Trustees as a whole have done that I was extremely happy to see happen,” Waddell shares.

Some of the notable accomplishments she was proud to be a part of were: changes to the delegation process and procedures, modification of the Use of Volunteers Policy, distribution of naloxone kits in the schools, requesting a review of data around learning skills, and modifications to trustee bylaws.

However, her most significant contribution was bringing a motion forward about the categorization of exceptionality and the need for the Ministry of Education’s definitions of exceptionality to include students with ADHD.

Trustee Waddell visits the Calming Room at Glencairn PS in April 2017.

As a mother of a special education student, she became a trustee to help parents and children navigate the system and contribute to the building of a better future for all children.

“The thing I will miss most is helping families and students, especially those with special needs children,” Waddell explains. “The system can be daunting to navigate. I could relate directly to their situation and provide support – not only as a trustee but also as someone who has walked in similar shoes.”

So, what’s next?

Waddell and her family are moving to a small mountain town just outside of Calgary to slow down, enjoy nature, and have more time for family. Her son, who currently attends Groh Public School, is starting secondary school in September, so the decision to move seems like the right to make the change.

Trustee Waddell’s view from her new home.

“Deciding to vacate my seat was an extremely difficult one to make, and I am sure that I will feel a very large void in my life,” says Waddell. “But I am also positive that within a very short time after getting settled that I will be looking to find ways to continue to advocate and support children and their families.”

We want to thank Trustee Waddell for her service and voice to our students, families and community. She will be missed greatly!