While School District 72 will have some new faces on its Board of Education, the experience is there, said outgoing board chair Helen Moats.
“I think it’s going to be a very interesting new board because I think six out of seven people have experience, have trustee experience,” said Moats. “And the one person who doesn’t is a person who’s from the public education system.”
Trustees elected for Campbell River are: Joyce McMann (4,284 votes), Michele Babchuk (4,134 votes), Darryl Hagen (3,097 votes), Linda Jay (2,757 votes), and Ted Foster (2,687 votes).
Barbara Bowbrick was acclaimed for the Sayward Valley seat, and Susan Wilson was acclaimed for the Quadra Island seat.
Wilson is the one new trustee with no direct experience as a trustee, however, Moats pointed out that she was a teacher in Campbell River for many years.
Wilson said she looks forward to getting started on the board.
“I’m not bringing specific issues with me at this time, but will do my best to deal with ongoing and new issues in a collaborative, cooperative, and productive manner,” said Wilson.
Jay is new to this board but currently holds a seat as a faculty representative on Education Council, which is a co-governance body for North Island College (NIC). She said she wants to have open lines of communication with parents.
“Most importantly, I want to set up an email or Facebook correspondence so that parents can write to me their concerns,” said Jay.
“My platform has been to be the ‘voice for parents,’ to bring their concerns to the table and make the system accountable to them.”
Foster sat on the board from 2005-08, but narrowly lost in the 2008 election, and is delighted to be back on the board. He said preparing high school students for post-secondary trades training will be his main focus.
“We can start in the high school level trying to orient children a bit towards trades or the opportunities that’ll be there,” said Foster, pointing out an expected growing demand for skilled workers on Vancouver Island by 2019.
McMann, Babchuk, Hagen, and Bowbrick were all incumbents in this election.
Moats, who did not run for re-election, said that with a change over in most senior staff in school district administration over the last couple of years, the experience of the trustees will help guide the board in its decisions.
“Continuity’s really important, just in terms of carrying on the history,” said Moats. “How did this decision get made and that sort of thing, and especially in a climate where there’s so many new senior staff members.”
McMann said the board will continue to work through issues, like advocating for stable government funding, the challenges of teacher contract negotiations, and preparing the district for the new configuration of schools.
Warrren Harle was an incumbent who was not re-elected, but he said he is happy for the new board, and adds that he had a good run as trustee.
“Of course I was disappointed, however, 12 years as a trustee leaves me satisfied, content and proud,” said Harle. “I wish the best for the new board.”
The new Board of Education will elect a chair at the next scheduled meeting on Tues. Dec. 6.