Meet Alison:

Alison Kelly portrait

Photo credit: Melissa Tran

Alison is currently running for School Board Trustee in my local Ontario riding and she's a total badass. She is fiercely loyal, energetic beyond belief and completely inspiring.

What does a School Board Trustee do?

In Ontario, there are many roles of the trustee, three main responsibilities being:

  • Field calls/emails of constituents and work in the capacity of a mediator between the parties involved.
  • Provide policy direction and oversight of how the policies are to be leveraged by the staff.
  • Advocate on behalf of the constituents, challenging the province on policies being implemented without school board input.

Many current trustees feel that they have very little power to influence, to influence change. I'm under the belief trustees do have the power, but over the years many have handed their power over to the government. I am advocating to take that power back, with my primary focuses being:

  • Committing to challenge the provincial government on future policies being presented to the board without consultation from the board and community.
  • Committing to work on forging the interrelationship between students, teachers, parents, school staff, principals, unions, and the community, to maximize accountability.
  • Committing to work with my peers and the Senior Administrators to ensure we are leveraging any/all available funds, leaving no money on the table.
  • Creating fiscal responsibility without budget cuts to the classroom, promoting safe and healthy school environments, securing better tools for educators, and looking for efficient transportation solutions.

You can read all about the role of the trustee here.

How does your feminist perspective factor into what you do and want to accomplish these days?

Working in IT since 1999, I have been subjected to sexism and sexual harassment on a fairly regular basis At the time, I didn't know how to respond to it. After having my children, my first arriving in 2012, I started to look at the world through my feminism lens more clearly. I relocated to Prince Edward County, met many rad women who called me out on my narrow-minded ideologies.

After learning more about who I am and who I want to be as a feminist, I was encouraged to propose implementing a women's support group within the company I worked for. Unfortunately, the company wasn't interested in such a group, and I found myself without a job after questioning the companies lack of training on workplace harassment and sensitivity after an inappropriate interaction with an indirect manager. After being rejected, I did what most normal people do and decided to seek out revenge. I enrolled in Ryerson's Community Engagement, Leadership, and Development certificate program, dove deep into social issues impacting my community, and was encouraged to take it even further by looking into a political career. I have big, BIG plans.

protest crowd photo featuring Alison Kelly

Photo credit: Jason Parks via Picton Gazette

What are you reading these days?

Right now I am reading 100 Baggers by Christopher Maybe. A longtime friend of mine has been coming in/out of my life for 15 years, wanting to be my mentor. When he heard about losing my job last year, he called me the next day and told me that he believed in me. He said that from the moment he met me, he knew I was meant to do great things, and that he wished I saw myself how he saw me. He sent me a list of books and youtube videos to watch, and I plan to head down next month to spend the day with him. He's passionate about stocks, gold, green energy, and anarchism. He's the most amazing 70 year old friend I have.

Books I have on the sidelines include The Inconvenient Indian, and Educating for Insurgency. Historically I have been a fan of fluff fiction, so reading non-fiction has been a real plot twist in my personal curriculum.

Who are some of your badass role models?

The original badass was my late Grandmother Bick. She dressed to the nines, with higher than high heels, and was full of spunk. She survived an abusive relationship, survived the death of a toddler, and ended up married to a partner who loved her deeply up until her death. I like to think my daughter has a lot of her Gramma Bick's feistiness in her. They would be the best of friends if she was still alive.

Another role model of mine is Jane Doe, who took on the Toronto police after they failed to let the community know a rapist was on the loose. She has since become an educator, and also tours the county doing workshops and talks on her advocacy. You can read her book here.

Rayne is my cousin and is another role model. Rayne is a crusader against all bullshit and was one of the first people to reach out with a "hell ya!" when I started to discover my feminism side. Rayne continues to shares their wisdom, reading suggestions, and informs me of events that may interest me. Rayne is my daily reminder on how to be inclusive, loving, and embracing to anyone and everything.

I have a MAJOR crush on Julie Lalonde. I first discovered her on twitter, and I hang onto every word she tweets. A survivor of a 10-year stalker, she's the voice we all need to listen to around sexual violence, harassment, and women's rights. Everything about her is fantastic.   

Last, my parents. Both came from less than ideal homes and together built a 50-year marriage. They survived poverty, job losses, financial struggles, all the while raising two children who are both self-sufficient and successful. They were partners through thick and thin, and continue to do so to this day.

Big thanks to Alison for being our first featured BAB! To check out news about Alison and her political journey you can check out her Facebook page, Alison for Trustee.

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