Toronto District School Board
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Ken Lister - Biography

The youngest of three children, Ken came from a family where politics and community service were daily topics at the dinner table.  His father taught Ken the importance of justice and fairness, and his mother stressed caring.

Ken's passion for bringing public awareness to community issues led him to pursue a Diploma in Broadcasting from Mount Royal University. After hosting his own radio show and tv show, he entered the University of Alberta and graduated with a Degree in Education. He worked as an elementary teacher and taught grades 1 to 9. Ken was a very well-respected teacher known for his passion and innovation in the classroom.  He taught classes as small as 10 students, and as large as 37 students. Quickly, Ken discovered the importance of small class sizes for student learning and quality education. He also learned of the need for providing additional support for gifted and special needs students, and ensuring efficient and cost effective spending by school boards.

Ken's desire for political reform led to opportunities in the political realm.  He then worked in the offices of three Members of Parliament: Deputy Prime Minister Hon. Anne McLellan, Hon. Joe Volpe, and Gurbax Malhi. During this time he helped seniors access Old Age Security, and helped Permanent Residents to prepare for the citizenship test. Ken also observed the importance of learning different languages in order to communicate with new Canadians, and learned a few phrases of Mandarin, Hebrew, Punjabi, and Italian.

In 2009 Ken began working for the Ontario Public Service, and worked in the Ministry of Health before joining the Ministry of Children and Youth Services/Community and Social Services. Serving as a Program Coordinator, Ken oversaw the budgets and spending practices of various agencies.  He was assigned a portfolio of agencies with an annual budget of close to $100 million dollars.  He worked with agencies such as the Learning Enrichment Foundation and the Toronto Foundation for Student Success which delivers the Student Nutrition Program. He also analyzed contracts and expenses for the Infant Hearing Program and Ontario Early Years Centres, ensuring funds were being spent appropriately.

In 2009, Ken was elected the Vice President of the Don Valley East Federal Liberal Association.  He served as the Vice President for two years before he was elected President, serving in that role until 2014. During that time, Ken was proud to receive the Toronto Riding of the Year Award to recognize his leadership and the outstanding communication to the community. 

One of Ken's passions is volunteering. He played soccer every summer as a child, and pledged to give back to the community when he was older by coaching soccer. He has done exactly that and has coached boys and girls soccer teams. Ken is also a proud volunteer with the children’s charity BOOST which is dedicated to the prevention of child abuse and violence through education and awareness. His recent involvement with the United Way as a Campaign Chair raised more than $10,000 through successful book sales, bake sales and silent auctions. In 2014, Ken participated in tree planting in Alamosa Park with the East Don Parkland Partners and was active with the Dallington Pollinators.

Ken is a long time resident of Don Valley East, where he lives with his wife Lisa and his son Jonah and daughter Sierra. Being a father has taught Ken the importance of sleep, and the joy of hearing your child laugh. And, when Ken isn't working or volunteering or spending time with his family, he enjoys playing ball hockey, soccer, hiking, and reading.

Our Mission
To enable all students to reach high levels of achievement and well-being
and to acquire the knowledge, skills
and values they need to become responsible, contributing members of
a democratic and sustainable society.
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