About Natalie

A Parent. Just Like You.

As a mother of a young child (who is a special education student), and as a long-term business owner, I believe I bring a wealth of hands-on knowledge and experiences that can further benefit the children, parents, and other the stakeholders in the Waterloo Region. When speaking with parents one-on-one about their experiences, I am often told that it is “refreshing to speak with someone who truly understands what it is my family is going through”.

It has been an honour to represent constituents throughout the Region of Waterloo since 2014, when I was first elected as a trustee for the Waterloo Region District School Board (Kitchener).

I am now seeking re-election, in the October 2018 municipal election, because I don’t yet feel my “job” is done. I wish to have the opportunity to continue to advocate for things that constituents bring to me and for things that I believe are important for the students, parents / caregivers, educators, staff, community partners, and community members of the Waterloo Region District School Board.

Prior to being elected as trustee in 2014 I was an outspoken public advocate who often spoke out about child care issues around the extended daycare program, the public’s rights to speak at public meetings, and the Doon South boundary review process.

What I Have Done So Far

During these past 4 years as a trustee, I have accomplished many things for which I am proud. One of the most significant was bringing a motion that ultimately led to a change in policy that now allows volunteers to act as supervisors for extracurricular activities under certain circumstances (such as labour disputes, when teachers may withdraw services). Although I do respect the unions’ rights to withdraw services when they are without a contract in place, I do believe extracurricular activities are fundamental to a student’s overall well-being and they should not have to experience interruption in these activities.

The second, and personally more significant for myself, was bringing a motion about the categorization of exceptionality (for special education purposes) and the need for the Ministry of Education’s definitions of exceptionality to include students will ADHD. After getting the “green light” on this motion from my trustee colleagues at the WRDSB, I was able to take this motion to the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA) Annual General Meeting and present it as a proposed resolution on behalf of the WRDSB. The resolution was supported by the OPSBA (with 88% of the weighted vote) and this passing will essentially lead to the lobbying the Ministry by OPSBA to automatically include ADHD as an exceptionality, as well as to provide additional training for educators around appropriate classroom accommodations and teaching strategies that can be used to support these students in the school environment.

Issues That Are Important To Me

Despite accomplishing many things these past 4 years, I still believe there is much work to be done to further improve our local education system and to ensure:

  • enhanced communication and community involvement,
  • transparency, and
  • accountability.

Issues that are dear to my heart include:

  • special education,
  • early identification of students at risk (in regard to both well-being challenges as well as at risk of not graduating), and
  • providing a safe and healthy learning environment for all, both from a safety point of view and from an equity & inclusion point of view.

My Commitments To You

If re-elected I will continue to:

  • Make fiscally responsible decision that are right for the entire community;
  • Promote increased community involvement and enhanced communication;
  • Promote an open transparent operation with accountability throughout the entire school board; and
  • Advocate for the entire community with the goals of improving student achievement and the well-being of all students and staff.

My Priorities

  • Special education students and services;
  • Early identification of students at risk, regarding both well-being as well as those at risk of not graduating; and
  • Providing a safe and healthy learning environment for all, both from a physical point of view and from an equity & inclusion point of view.

My Family

My husband, Mark, and I have been together for over 18 years. We have an 11 year old son who first attended J.W. Gerth Public School and now attends Groh Public School. He is currently in grade 7.

We moved the the Doon South area in 2006 (just a month before our son was born) and I am pleased to call Kitchener our home, where we are actively involved as community members.

I grew up as one of five children with my family in Nepean, Ontario. The importance of participation in municipal politics was part of my up-bringing; my mother’s career was in municipal politics, where she ended it as a councilor for the Regional Municipality of Ottawa–Carleton.

I left home when I was 18 years old to attend the University of Guelph (Honours BSc, 1990), after which I resided in numerous cities and towns in Southern Ontario (including Leamington, Burlington, and Toronto).

My Career

I developed and operate a national lawyer referral service called LawyerLocate.ca Inc. I founded this company in 2001 after recognizing a ‘hole’ in the Canadian legal system, and my desire to help people in need find the support and information they were seeking. Since starting the company in 2001, we have helped well over 150,000 people find legal council to meet their personal and/or business needs.

In addition to LawyerLocate.ca Inc., I also own a digital design company called Digital emspace.

Both these companies are operated from the same office which is located in Cambridge, Ontario.