“I’m very humbled and very honoured,” said newly elected Board of Education chairperson Michele Babchuk at the board’s inaugural meeting Tuesday.
Babchuk was nominated by long-time trustee Darryl Hagen, and no other nominations were put forward, making her chair by acclamation.
While she has been a board trustee since 2005, Babchuk has not previously held the chairperson position, and said she is happy to be chosen by her peers this year.
“It’s nice to know that what you have done in the past – because I have been the vice-chair for quite some time – is recognized by my peers,” explained Babchuk, adding that she was surprised.
Babchuk said the board will continue to move in the same direction with a focus on public consultation for the school reconfiguration this coming fall; updating its strategic plan in the new year; advocating for government funding and keeping up strong communication with the public.
Strong communication with the community is “a huge part of making trustees valid within the community and getting out what exactly we do here, I think that’s very important,” said Babchuk.
Barbara Bowbrick, who has been a board trustee for about 12 years, became vice-chair by acclamation as well.
The positions will be held until Nov. 30, 2012, when the board will elect trustees for the positions again.
All newly elected trustees – Susan Wilson, Joyce McMann, Ted Foster, Linda Jay, Darryl Hagen, Babchuk and Bowbrick – took the Oath of Office at Tuesday’s meeting.
While the majority of board members were re-elected, Wilson and Jay are totally new, and Foster was not a trustee for the past three years. Babchuk said she welcomes their fresh perspectives.
“If everybody is walking the line then the discussions get stale and different issues don’t start to come in,” said Babchuk “So the new blood that comes onto the board brings in all of those new issues that maybe in the past we haven’t been able to connect with.”