Jodi Lloyd is coming back for another term as Simcoe County District School Board trustee following her successful bid in Monday’s election.
Lloyd won the race to represent Orillia, Ramara and Severn with 7,346 votes cast in her favour, while challenger Meghan Dunlop garnered 6,248 in what was a closely-contested competition.
Lloyd, with 16 years’ experience as a school board trustee, is returning for her fifth term.
“I always feel very honoured to get this opportunity,” she told OrilliaMatters. “My role as trustee is something I’ve always taken very seriously and been very committed to, so I’m very pleased to be able to continue in the role.”
The coming term will not be without its challenges, she said.
“We certainly have significant challenges post-pandemic and there’s a lot of work to be done,” she said. “I recognize that; I know that going into this term, it will not be easy.”
Lloyd said her top priorities are ensuring student well-being post-pandemic and managing the growth and infrastructure needs of the school board.
One major project expected in the coming term is the construction of a school in west Orillia.
“I’m very eager to participate in the design committee, the naming committee and then to have the school open,” Lloyd said. “The target opening date for that school is September of 2025 and … going door to door in West Ridge, it’s certainly needed and will be very welcomed by that community.”
The school board is struggling with child care, she said, adding she hopes to address that.
“There is a crisis in child care right now in staffing … and we’ve lost programs within Simcoe County — three of them in the region I represent,” she said. “We need to work and strategize and come up with solutions to address this. Child care is critical to parents.
“We have been working with Georgian College, the County of Simcoe and with our child-care providers, and it’s something that we’re all going to have to put a concerted effort towards.”
Lloyd congratulated her opponent for a strong and “respectful” campaign.
Although she lost, newcomer Dunlop said she gained a lot from the experience of running for the trustee position.
“I’m super happy with how it turned out, win or lose. Honestly, I’m just so pumped,” she told OrilliaMatters.
Dunlop was inspired by the support she received, saying it helped her build confidence in working toward causes she believes in.
“I learned that I shouldn’t be afraid to put myself out there,” said the 36-year-old social worker. “You really put yourself out there in an election, but I enjoyed every minute of it.
“I had never thought a year ago or even six months ago that I would be putting myself out there this way, and all the stuff that I pushed for in my campaign and my platform to help others, that’s my passion.”
Dunlop said she has interest in potentially running again, and she wants to continue helping to address gaps in the system.
“I don’t want to stop being involved and pushing for mental health and (addressing) inequalities for families,” she said.