A Simcoe County District School Board trustee is being remembered for her passion and hard work on behalf of students.
Michele Locke, who represented Midland, Penetanguishene, Tay and Tiny, died Thursday in her 56th year.
“She’ll be most remembered for her work with Indigenous education,” said board chair Jodi Lloyd.
Locke, who was Métis, served on the First Nations education advisory committee since she was first elected to the board nine years ago. She was committee chair at the time of her death.
“The Simcoe County District School Board has been recognized as a leader (in Indigenous education), and I think Michele had a lot to do with that,” Lloyd said.
That wasn’t Locke’s only passion. She often spoke about the privilege of mentoring student trustees — a role she happily took on for a number of years.
“She was very patient and kind and accessible,” Lloyd said. “She was always eager to help them learn and develop in their roles.”
While Locke had her specific areas of interest, she tackled all tasks with the best interest of the students and the school board as a whole in mind.
“Michele was very hard working. If there was a job to be done, she was always the first to volunteer to help,” Lloyd said.
That included representing the board at the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association.
Locke was also actively involved in the process of designing and building Georgian Bay District Secondary School, which opened in Midland early this year.
“It was something that meant an awful lot to her,” Lloyd recalled. “I’m pleased that she was able to see that open. She was so excited to be at that grand opening.”
Her desire to give back extended to the community, Lloyd said, noting Locke’s volunteerism included the time she gave to help out at a men’s shelter.
As per the Education Act, the board has 90 days to name a replacement trustee.
The board can choose to either call a byelection or appoint someone. Typically, when a trustee position needs to be filled prior to an election, the board has opted to appoint a replacement. A decision on how to proceed will be made by the board at a later meeting.
A cause of death was not included in an obituary for Locke, but it stated memorial donations to the Heart and Stroke Foundation or Diabetes Canada are being accepted.
A celebration of life will take place Oct. 12, from 1 to 4 p.m., at the Midland Legion.