The Thames Valley District School Board is confirming that trustee Jake Skinner has submitted his resignation. No reason was provided for his sudden departure.
Skinner represented London Wards 7, 8, 9, 10 and 13. A special meeting of the board is scheduled for Wednesday evening “to determine a process for selecting Trustee Skinner’s replacement,” the board said in a statement.
“It has been a pleasure to serve the TVDSB community and I wish our administrative team, as well as the Board of Trustees, every success in building each student’s tomorrow, every day,” said Skinner.
Chair Lori-Ann Pizzolato thanked Skinner for “his years of service and commitment to public education,” adding that his “keen insights and his dedication to student achievement and well-being” will be missed.
Skinner’s tenure included strong support for the Thames Valley Education Foundation, advocacy of robotics programming, and a successful push to equip all TVDSB schools with automated external defibrillators (AEDs).
However, his tenure was not without controversy.
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An investigation into a complaint against him found “insufficient evidence that Trustee Jake Skinner breached Thames Valley’s Code of Conduct.”
While the nature of the complaint itself was not made public — the board previously stated it cannot release any details about it — the initial filing came soon after the PR firm Skinner was involved with at the time defended its role in creating a pair of attack websites aimed at two then-incumbent city councillors, Maureen Cassidy and Virginia Ridley, during the 2018 election.
Skinner was a co-owner of Blackridge Strategy but he confirmed on Jan. 10, 2020, that he had cut ties with the company.
Meanwhile, the board said it had received 17 applications from community members looking to replace trustee Joyce Bennett, who represented the same wards as Skinner. Bennett retired in October after more than 30 years as a school board trustee.
Whoever becomes trustee will end up completing the board’s four-year term, which expires in November 2022.