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Barbara Poplawski standing in front of a monument






Barbara delivering remarks at a Ontario Catholic School Trustees's Association Function

"Every child matters" are not just words to me. Every child deserves an enviroment where they can grow safely, with confidence, to their full academic potential. 

I remember my own experience as a 6 year old Polish-speaking immigrant starting school in a small northern Ontario town. The only English I knew was "Thank you very much". Not being able to communicate, I got teased and bullied.  Through my tears, I'd communicate with the only English I knew. We have to be aware of and continue to dismantle obstacles that may impede students success. An inclusive school setting is critical.

With 38 years of experience as a trustee, it has been my honour to work for TCDSB ratepayers with all levels of government, always putting students needs first.


Our school communities are a wealth of knowledge and skills and I believe one of a trustee's best assets are engaged, informed parents. An example of this collaboration are the two large wooden 'castle' playground structures at St Cecilia Elementary School. This project was the result of the Parent Council asking me, as

their trustee, to get the Board to re-allocate a $90,000 parking lot budget to the Parent Council. That was a difficult task for the Parent Council and myself, but, in the end, the funds went to the Parent Council! Over a 5 day period, hundreds of hours, and over 1000 volunteers two magnificent playgrounds were built, and the whole schoolyard was redone. The City used The Build as a blueprint to build the High Park Playground. 

Another major project with empowered parents involvement, was the Holy Family joint use facilty. This was the very first partnership between the Catholic Board and the City of Toronto. As the Holy Family trustee, I worked hard with the Community, the Board and City Alderman to get this done. Today, there's still a huge double gym, community room and  kitchen used by school during the day and  by the community after hours. Successfully negotiated terms and conditions to the benfit of students and area residents any creating an opening for more joint use ventures. Where there's a will, you can find a way.

St. Cecilia Catholic Elementary School playground in Toronto

75% of Catholic school ratepayers do not have children in the school system, however, I believe everyone's future depends on the success of todays students. Dealing with the Boards 1.2 Billion budget must be transparent, accountable and fiscally responsible.


Respectfully, I ask for your support and vote in the 2022 Municipal Election for Catholic School Trustee, TCDSB Ward 4 Parkdale-High Park, Etobicoke-Lakeshore. Together we can continue to strengthen the Home/School/Church partnership. Together we will move forward to protect, enhance, and preserve our publicly funded Catholic School System.

- Barbara


Comunity Action


Barbara brought parents together at her "Family of School" meetings to to hear presentations on topics of interest to parents. At these meetings, time was provided for all schools to report and share their school's successes/concerns. Conversation would continue long after meetings had officially finished. 


Barbara strongly believes in equal opportunity for all students regardless of economic/social circumstances. In an effort to find and share solutions, Barbara was responsible for bringing "First Book Canada" to the TCDSB. She personally helped deliver boxes filled with hundreds of books donated by publishers to TCDSB schools. 


An equal playing field must be provided so each student can reach their full, God-given potential. Barbara has worked with staff and parents to apply for grants and funding for programs and directives that provide enrichment opportunities in literacy, math, sports, and the arts.  


A strong supporter of AFL (Angel Foundation for Learning) Barbara was on the AFL Board of Directors. Barbara promoted the AFL's Cents Off  program throughout TCDSB to raise money. Available to all TCDSB employees, this program enables staff to donate the cents portion of their biweekly paycheques to AFL and is one of the AFL's largest fundraiser. The AFL supports, inspires, and nurtures TCDSB students through programs such as:

  • Student Nutrition Programs - 1.2 million meals every month, feeding 71,000 students in 167 schools a healthy morning meal.

  • School Monetary Allocations - approximately $50,000 is distributed annually to ensure that all students can participate in class trips and other leadership activities.

  • Guardian Angel Funds - contributes to necessities such as warm clothing, food, hearing aids and eyeglasses.

  • Awards and Bursaries - encourage students to pursue further education.



Barbara, working with an incredible music teacher, Dr. Andrzej Rozbicki (Maestro) put together an amazing 3-week Polish Trip, involving a partnership between the Polish Consulate, TCDSB and the Ministry of Education. Students got an indelible, hands on learning experience - touring historic sites, meeting famed composers all while trekking through 7 countries and earning 2 High School Credits (Music and History). Each trip, from 2012 - 2018 was uniquely different.   


As Chair of the provincially mandated TCDSB Audit Committee, Barbara brought in the Whistleblowers Policy, which reflects her commitment to protecting public interest, accountablilty, and trust.

In the 2018 balanced budge, Barbara, as TCDSB Chair, was able to put 2 million dollars back into the School Block Budget, which went directly into the classroom, and was proportionately divided according to need.

There are numerous areas in Toronto where child poverty exists at a concerning level; more than double the overall Toronto rate. These disproportionately high poverty rates mostly effect children from marginalized groups, including the indigenous, racialized, and newcomers to Canada. More investment must flow to schools in these areas to help develop stronger, more confident students.



Barbara believes in working with her schools, sharing information, listening to and enabling parents, students and ratepayers. A great way to do this is to attend as many school events and meetings as possible. Check the Galley pictures below, and if you can't find Barbara in the picture, she's probably the one taking it!

 Can you volunteer a couple of hours to help Barbara get elected, have a question, would take a lawn sign, email Barbara

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For The Record

In a 38 Year commitment – here's some things Barbara has done, Board Wide and in her 'ward' 


  • Chaired most of MSSB/TCDSB committees, Board Chair in 2018

  • Initiated and got the very first ‘joint use facility’ at Holy Family. First partnership between City of Toronto & the MSSB (Metro Separate School board, now the TCDSB). During the school day, Holy Family used the facility, and after hours, the community used the huge double gym, community room and kitchen addition. 'Alderman' David Hutchinson & I worked together, determined to 'make it happen'. Blazing the 'first' trail is always harder, but was well worth the effort, and a trail for other projects to follow.

  • New school at St Helens, working closely with parents & keeping the historical façade 

  • Worked to put in place the first Conflict Resolution Policy

  • Unique addition to St Pius X, on a postage stamp school yard

  • facilitated the St Cecilia Build, again working closely and enabling the Parent Council. Trend setting, 'The Build' took 5 days to complete. Two huge wooden castle play structures were constructed, one for senior students and one for junior students. 100's of hours by over 1000 volunteers, working 3 shifts of 4 hours each. Even Mayor David Miller brought out his toolbox. City of Toronto used this project as a 'blueprint' to build the High Park playground

  • brought FirstBookCanada to the TCDSB, and promoted its use. Personally picked up boxes of brand new books and distributed to schools for students. For a BM/TM music concert 'giveaway', got publishers to directly donate boxes of 'hot off the press' books for the general audience and students. Latest cook books, with trendy authors, were very popular. Everyone left with their fiction/non fictions treasures

  • served as a director on the provincial voice of Ontario publicly funded Catholic, OCSTA (Ontario Catholic School Trustees Association)

  • represented MSSB (TCDSB) on City of Toronto Board of Health

  • Co-Chaired with TDSB Trustee, ministry mandated ‘Joint Transportation Committee’ 

  • Chair (for 8 years) of Ministry of Education mandated Audit Committee, bringing in balanced Budgets. Initiated the Whistle Blower Policy, which passed in 2018. Strongly believe in transparency, accountability and fiscal responsibility.

  • As Board Chair, 2018, successfully moved $2 million into the School Block Budget - money that went directly into the classroom

  • Worked with an amazing teacher, Maestro Rozbicki, to put together an educational trip to Poland. A partnership with TCDSB, the Ministry of Education and Polish Consulate General enabled students to travel to 6 European countries plus Poland. After this amazing 3 week trip, packed with historical sites,meeting famed composer, visiting churches and museums, students received 2 high school credits (History & Music). Trips were from 2012 to 2018, stopped because of Covid concerns.

  • On the Board of Directors for the ALF (Angel Foundation for Learning) a charity specifically addressing TCDSB student needs

  • Served on SEAC (Special Education Advisory Committee)

  • Brought in and supported St. Helens Family Literacy Centre

  • Renovations to Bishop Marrocco/Thomas Merton

  • Going way back, was on MSSB Negotiating team for the transfer of schools from TDSB to MSSB (now TCDSB)

  • Supported the Saturday International Heritage language program

  • Fully supported and helped raise money for the Attawapiskat program initiated by coach Paolo Pereira (assistant coaches Dan Romano & Christopher Bonnici) BM/TM soccer players, the Royals, flew to Attawapiskat First Nation to teach soccer, bring sports equipment & uniforms. Eye opening learning experience for all involved and reaching out to our ‘northern family’   This grew  to be, now  A beautiful example of our faith in action through our Catholic schools

  • Supported and promoted the Woodbine Music Festival, highlighting our students musical talents

  • Playground at St Vincent de Paul

  • Playground pieces at St James

  • Guess I could mention, volunteering, as Board Chair, to ‘get dunked’ at a AFL fundraiser (2018) Video on request

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