SD72 Trustees ready to get into it

The first meeting of the new Board of Education will be Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. at the SD72 office on Pinecrest

The new Trustees for School District 72 (SD72) will soon be sworn in, and new and returning members of the board alike are geared up and ready to get to work.

“I am looking forward to working with the other elected trustees to build a cohesive team,” said Richard Franklin, who will sit as Trustee for the first time after running unsuccessfully in the past.

His first goal, he said, after building that cohesion, will be making and monitoring the progress of the organization’s goals going forward.

“As a start to this process,” he said, “I think the new Board should seek information about where we are now in terms of student achievement to establish a baseline. The district’s administration would then be tasked with and is accountable for making improvements over the four-year term of this board.”

He also thinks there should be more accountability than there has been in the past in regards to progress being made – or not made – as the term progresses, saying, “I think it will be important to review the performance of the district’s administrators to ensure that we have strong, effective leadership that is making a positive difference.”

John Kerr, another first-time trustee, echoed both these sentiments.

“I look forward to being part of a strong team that works together to help improve educational achievement in our school district,” he said.

“My experience in board governance over many years has given me an understanding of how a board can work effectively, and the ability to work with others to further the goals that will be determined by the Board.”

In terms of accountability and measuring progress, Kerr said that “with the millions of dollars that go into our system, there must be accountability. One of our former superintendents was fond of saying, ‘What gets measured gets done,’” he said, and he agrees with that assertion.

Returning for his third term as trustee, Ted Foster feels one key priority should be in healing the tension remaining between the teachers and administrators since the work stoppage earlier this year.

“Facilitating the healing process and moving forward is our first priority,” he said, followed by the implementation of the new Strategic Plan, which the last board put forward in September, which, he said, prioritizes, “safe,caring and engaging learning environments, personalized learning opportunities, enhanced facilities for learning,  and strengthening and expanding community relations.”

Susan Wilson, the acclaimed trustee from the Quadra Region, is returning for her second term on the board, and said she’s looking forward to putting her experience as a front-line educator to use, feeling she has a broader perspective of district needs and resources after serving a term on the board.

“I welcome community input and will continue to advocate for personalized learning opportunities that best meet student needs and community values,” she said, adding that having lived on Quadra Island for 30 years, she brings “an understanding of the particular strengths, diversities and challenges of these (outer) island communities,” which she will bring to the board.

The full board is not yet set, however.

The Sayward Valley is still reporting a tie vote between incumbent trustee Barbara Bowbrick and challenger Gail Kirshner, with a judicial recount to be scheduled as soon as possible.

“We will have two or more (depending on the yet to be determined result of the Sayward Valley vote) new trustees and will be minus our former chair, Michele Babchuk (who ran for and won a seat on city council),” said Foster, “which means the new Board will be shoulders to the wheel for the balance of this school year.”

The first meeting of the new Board of Education will be Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. at the SD72 office on Pinecrest, where trustees will elect a chair and vice-chair, who will serve in those positions for the next year.