Q&A: Welcoming Sara Darling, Chair of the Grand Erie Parent Involvement Committee (GEPIC)
FRIDAY, NOV. 25, 2022
|Above: Sara Darling.|
Grand Erie is excited to welcome Sara Darling as the Chair of the Grand Erie Parent Involvement Committee (GEPIC)!
GEPIC encourages meaningful parent involvement at the system level with a goal to improve student achievement, well-being, belonging and inclusion, and to address barriers to engagement.
By way of introduction, we asked Sara some questions about herself and her role as the GEPIC Chair.
Q: Tell us a little bit about you.
I live in the County of Brant with my husband and our sports-loving, school-aged son. I have a passion for community building and an interest in health and wellness. I work at Wilfrid Laurier University’s Brantford campus as the Coordinator for Community and Workplace Partnerships, where I build partnerships with community organizations and coordinate experiential learning opportunities for university students. Before that, I spent 10 years at the EarlyON Child and Family Centre, facilitating groups and workshops for early learning educators, parents, and children.
Q: What inspired you to get involved with GEPIC?
I became interested in GEPIC after learning about it from a friend. At each meeting, it’s informative to hear updates from the Board, and take part in the discussions. It has been interesting to hear the topics presented, and ideas generated by the group. The GEPIC meetings are a great way for parents to come together with the Board on a regular basis.
Q: Why is it important for parents to play an active role in their children’s school?
Teachers and parents both want what is best for the children, so I believe that by working together, we can support them in their learning journey. By staying in touch with what’s happening at school, parents can discover ways to help and feel like a part of the school community. Helen Keller sums it up well when she stated: “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”
Q: What do you hope to achieve in your role as the Chair of GEPIC?
I look forward to building on the work done by the previous GEPIC Chair and committee, and continue supporting their mission. I hope that parents feel welcome to join us and feel a sense of community and inclusiveness at the meetings. GEPIC hosts a number of events each year, and I look forward to helping with those as well.
Q: How do you demonstrate Grand Erie’s mission to learn, lead and inspire, and our vision to build a culture of learning, well-being and belonging?
I am always interested in learning new things through professional development opportunities, reading one or two books per month, and listening to podcasts. I would say that I am a lifelong learner. I also believe in the importance of building relationships. We may never know how we’ve positively affected and inspired others, like the ripple effect. I have had quite a few examples of this in my own life.
Along with courses, books and podcasts, I think we can also learn something from everyone we meet. When I look back, I think my parents taught me that. I was also honoured to be recognized by Laurier as a recipient of the Inclusive Award in October 2022, an award given to those who demonstrate collaboration and inclusion in their work. A sense of well-being and belonging can make a big difference in someone’s life in a positive way.
Q: How do you like to spend your time outside of work and Chair responsibilities?
I enjoy spending time with family and friends, going on hikes, reading, yoga and good coffee. I can often be found bringing people together, whether that is through my work, at home, or in my community. I also enjoy being part of 100 People Who Care Brant and the impact they have, as well as serving on the Board of Directors for the Grand River Council on Aging.
We are thrilled to have Sara on board as we continue building a culture of learning, well-being and belonging, as set in the Multi-Year Plan.
Grand Erie District School Board represents more than 26,000 students in 58 elementary schools and 14 secondary schools within the City of Brantford and the counties of Brant, Haldimand and Norfolk, as well as secondary students from Six Nations of the Grand River and Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation. With a dedicated staff of more than 2,500, Grand Erie is committed to learning, leading and inspiring.