In the Sooke School District (SD62), there are seven school trustee positions. Four trustee seats will be filled from Belmont Zone Area 1 (Colwood, Langford, Metchosin and Highlands) with three coming from Milnes Landing Zone Area 2 (Sooke and Port Renfrew).
There are seven candidates vying for the three Area 2 seats. They include Amanda Dowhy, Murielle Lagace, Candace Linde, Ebony Logins, Philip Ney, Veronica Pemberton and Allison Watson.
We asked each of the seven West Shore candidates for Area 1 to outline the most important thing school trustees can do to improve the district. Here are their responses listed alphabetically.
A trustee’s role is heavily focused on policies, planning, and budgeting within the allotted funding provided. Developing collaborative and positive relationships with our partner groups and community, is the most important thing a trustee can do. Trustees represent the community in their decision-making and during their advocacy work. I have been a strong, collaborative advocate on many levels as a parent volunteer for multiple groups, governance boards, and committees for a decade now.
Mary P. Brooke
SD62 does many things well. The public education system needs to restore dignity to parents. Trustees can keep that in mind as they navigate through various decision-making challenges. Curriculum needs to include life skill literacy including personal finances, civic participation, and food security. The board must remain attentive to responsible district growth management; do better student population projections and avoid arbitrary and disruptive catchment variations. Boost the arts to balance out the strong emphasis on sports. Keep strengthening IT infrastructure.
As elected Chief of Sc’ianew First Nation (Beecher Bay), I’ve been honoured to serve this community since 2003. I attended SD62 as did all three of my children. I have been a long-time member of the SD62 Aboriginal Education Council. I have seen the strides SD62 has made, and I want to serve our community by keeping our district a leader in inclusion, innovation while managing our growing community and supporting our future generations. I would be honoured if the community elected me to ensure all students are supported, respected, and understood within their learning environments.
I am a parent first. I am a physically-disabled, Black single-mother, to be exact. I’ve identified several issues which barred us from full participation. I’ve noticed that policies; in terms of equity, inclusivity and accessibility, need updating and improvement.
I believe school trustees should be listening more to parents to improve the district. I’m interested in hearing and responding to the unique needs of families to ensure that schools are safe, healthy and inclusive for all students. Now is the time to embrace diversity in leadership for equitable futures.
Listen, learn, and advocate for all students, families, and staff by facilitating regular, thoughtful, and meaningful engagement. To make informed, evidenced-based, fiscally responsible decisions and develop collaborative education and community partnerships, trustees must listen, understand, and be connected to the people and communities they serve.
As SD62 continues to experience rapid growth and change, trustees also have an important role supporting and guiding implementation of the district’s strategic plan, resource planning and governance framework. Sustainable delivery and development of equitable, inclusive, diverse, and innovative education programs, services and learning spaces and planning for new schools are my top priorities.
From my perspective, improvement begins with a plan. Under my leadership as Chair of the Board, we successfully developed two robust strategic plans with clear objectives, goals and strategic priorities of learning, engagement and growth. At the heart of these plans and my work as trustee for the past eight years is ensuring our students have a strong sense of belonging in their schools.
Ensuring all students feel safe, that our schools are accessible, inclusive and responsive to the needs of the diverse community we serve. For me, that’s where our work begins and something I’ll keep front and centre, if I am re-elected.
My goals as a school trustee would be: to improve openness, transparent and accountable governance; to provide additional funding for children with different needs so they have equal opportunities: and to continue to support the Na’tsa’maht agreement.
I have been a SD62 Role Model for 11 years and know that an Indigenous voice can provide important background and teachings. SD62 has been growing and is predicted to continue to grow for another 15 years.
I would lobby the provincial government for funding to build more schools and replace our aging schools. Bringing in portables is not the answer, nor is sending them to another school district.
Advance voting starts on Oct. 5 with general election day on Oct. 15. For more information on how or where to vote, check out your municipality’s website. You can find election night results, and more coverage in the lead-up, under the election tab at goldstreamgazette.com.
READ MORE: 2022 Election Coverage
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