Having been a grain farmer all his life, Shayne Barkman would like to add a trustee hat to his cap collection. 

After recently finding out that there would be an opening in Ward 2 of the Hanover School Division Barkman decided this would be as good a time as any to put his name on the ballot for trustee.  

“I felt that if I wanted to become a school trustee while my kids were still in school. They are in the early years right now and so it would be a nice fit as I could be a part of not only their education, but everybody else’s kids education in the community and in the surrounding area, as well. So that's why I wanted to run.” 

Barkman says he has learned the importance of working hard through his life on the family farm.  

"Early on I learned what hard work was all about. I spent a lot of time with my dad in the combine, sometimes sleeping behind the seat of the combine while he was working late at night. At a young age I realized that farming was for me, it's in my blood and I wanted to continue to produce grain for livestock and for human consumption across Canada and the US.  

Barkman also has a degree in Agribusiness, which has helped him on the farm, but it has also given him flexibility when it comes to his family. He now includes them in combine ride-alongs late at night, teaching them ‘what dad is up to’ and showing them that he is committed to doing hard work.  

“I want to use my knowledge and background in running a business to help out Hanover families as a trustee. They (HSD) obviously have a big budget that they spend annually, and I think I could definitely be a good partner in figuring out to best utilize the money and make it count the most for the people in Hanover and the kids in Hanover School division.” 

Barkman says the Hanover School Division has done a really good job over the years.  

“When I was in school, they gave me a chance to excel in education. They also helped me by providing sports opportunities and just being able to connect with others. I feel like I had a really good experience as a student.” He continues, “I think that the division has done a really good job in the last number of years finding, recruiting and hiring excellent administration, teachers, EA's and staff members, and I think that is probably one of the most important attributes of any school system, to find the right people for the right job and I think they've done a wonderful job of that.” 

As a whole Barkman says, he feels that the division board respects each other, respects the education system, but mostly “they love working together for the benefit of the students, the parents and the teachers. There's a lot of good things that Hanover has done, and I just want to help continue these traditions for the foreseeable future." 

That said, Barkman believes there does need to be a better connection between the parents, teachers, board and the administration, which he said would be through creating more transparency and communication from the bottom to the top and back down again. "I believe that if parents can get more involved with their kids’ education and that the school trustees can be more in the know of what's going on in administration and on the teaching level, well, I think that connection could be strengthened in such a way that everybody can be on the same page at the same time and do what's best for the students and the kids of the Hanover School Division.” 

Barkman continues, “And I just want to be a listening ear and be understanding, especially in today's day and age, with all the uncertainty, like with everything from high-interest rates to inflation to, you know just look around you, you've got various problems and other provinces and school districts that everybody is attacking the schools from all angles. So, I would love to kind of just be a voice of reason amongst all the problems coming down the pipe.” 

“But mostly, if I get elected, I would like to make one of my goals to serve Ward Two to the best of my ability and work extremely hard to make education thrive in these communities because a good education will ensure a bright future for our kids.” 

Shayne Barkman and his familyShayne Barkman and his family (Photo credit: supplied)