Ward 1 candidiate Robert Radway wants people to know that if elected he will take a leave of absense from the public school board - and that he is campaigning like crazy.

By Pepper Parr

October 13th, 2022



Robert Radway knew in 2018 that his career as a teacher was not going to grow much more at that point than it had in his 20 + years as an educator.

In the public school board system teachers grow into department heads, then maybe vice principals. They take courses to earn an appointment as a principal.

“Usually” explained Radway “when you get interviewed that is a sign that you will be appointed. Radway was interviewed after the first two applications and was never appointed. When he applied a third time and wasn’t even interviewed Radway knew the growth as an educator had come to a halt.

Robert Radway – at his station in a Tim Hortons coffee shop

He thought seriously about running in ward 1 in 2018 but when he saw 10+ candidates he decided he would wait another four years and then decide if it was time to make a move.

He announced very early in the game that he was going to be a candidate and was out knocking on doors.  His nomination papers were filed in May.

Radway has a very engaging outgoing personality. He wears his empathy on his sleeve and certainly leaves you with the impression that he is a people person.  Born in the High Park community in Toronto, family moved to Burlington where he attended Nelson high school.

Family life was not all that stable and for a period of time it was just Robert and his sisters who were living on what he called Students Welfare. He has moved 29 times; English was not his first language – something you would not be aware of when you listen to him speak.

He would appear to be a person who has overcome a lot of adversity.

Radway has made better communications with the people of Aldershot his biggest promise.

He and his sister were put in a basement apartment in the Walkers Line – New Street part of the city and ended up going to Nelson High School because it was closest. After graduating from Nelson Radway went to Carleton University where he studied history and social studies then taught at Appleby College for a year. After that he went on to Niagara College in the United States where he earned a Teaching Certificate.

His first classroom assignment was Pineland Public, a school he attended as a student, and then on to Central where he started in the elementary school and moved on to teaching in the high school.

He was the president of the Teacher’s Union at Central and worked in the department of Phys Ed, taught English as a second language as well

He was always a big advocate for students and was the school liaison with the Student Council. .

Some of his students are offering to help put up election signs.

His early understanding of just what a city councillor does was embarrassingly limited. He thought he would be able to teach high school history and attend council meetings.

He learned that just wasn’t possible and decided that he would apply for a leave of absence that would start at the beginning of the first semester which would be early February.

Between being sworn in early in December and the beginning of his leave of absence he has some vacation time and the assurance from his peers at the school board  that he will not miss council duties.

Teachers can usually get a two year leave of absence and an additional two years as well. “By that time” explains Radway, “I will have learned that my new career will be in municipal politics.

Radway is a note taker – he writes it all down to “remind what I told people I would do.”

He has some solid old time Tory supporters who meet with him once a week. He has a team of nine people working with him – along with a significant number of students who just show up.

Early life for the Radway family was not simple – there was a time when he did not have a solid command of the English language.

Radway met the woman he married while he was at Nelson and she was at Central. She is a home maker. They have three boys; one in grade 9, one in grade 10 and the other back at Aldershot High School doing an upgrade course on diesel engines.

He admits that he has a lot to learn but has clear ideas on how he wants to communicate with his constituents believing that they are going to teach him much of what he needs to learn

He has decided that if he is elected he will create local community groups he can meet with regularly and learn what is needed where and at the same time be able to explain what he is doing at city hall.

He knows that public transit is essential – and expensive – so where should the service operate and what should the schedule look like ? He wants the different communities to explain those needs to him and said he will make certain that transit gets to know what is needed in Aldershot.

Striving to ensure that the person he was talking was getting the point Radway used every gesture he had.

Radway asked if he could take a pass on commenting on the city decision to purchase the Bateman High School property.” I am still a Board of Education employee and they prefer that staff not take part in public issues that relate directly to the Board.”

He does have views on the budget – learn what people want and tell people how much money the city has. If there isn’t enough money to pay for all the services people want – he intends to listen and find out if they will put up with tax increases or go along with service cuts.

He thinks the bike lane improvements being put in place on the western end of Plains Road now are a great idea. “I’m excited – but want to know why it took so long.”

Assuming Radway gets to city hall he will learn why things take so long soon enough.

The object of Radway campaigning was a Greek Aldershot resident who wanted to hear what he had to say.

The #1 ward level issue for Radway – improve communications – people are not happy with the way communicating is done he said.

One the matter of communicating Radway wishes his opponent “would stop telling people I am going to be a full time teacher and a full time Councillor. I have made my position known – I will take a leave of absence and be a full time city and Regional councillor if I am elected.”.

The #1 city level issue for Radway for the first year is – getting to know his fellow Council members and getting to know the senior city staff he will be working with and tackling the creating of a budget in what are very difficult and complex times.

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3 comments to Ward 1 candidiate Robert Radway wants people to know that if elected he will take a leave of absense from the public school board – and that he is campaigning like crazy.

  • Penny Hersh

    Shame on Councillor Galbraith if he is spreading false information on a candidate running for election in his ward.

    It makes one stop and wonder if he is starting to feel that this could be a real race and there is the possibility that he might be defeated.

  • Carol Victor

    Would be great if there was a Ward 1 debate

  • Joe Gaetan

    Robert, its called “red tape syndrome” and there is far too much of it in Burlington. We are not building nuclear reactors, but the process looks like we are. A perfect example was how long it took to wake up and do something on the Coyote safety issue. There are many more examples if we care to look.