Willow MacDonald of Zone 3 (100 Mile House) and Linda Martens of Zone 1 (Bridge Lake, Forest Grove, Buffalo Creek and Horse Lake) will be returning as trustees for School District 27, running unopposed.
Zone 2 (108 Mile and Lac la Hache) is another story, with Robyn Angus and Mary Forbes running against each other for the seat.
“I’m really happy to be the school trustee again. I’m really happy I have the support of the district of 100 Mile, my community,” said MacDonald.
According to MacDonald, the biggest issue she would like the board tackle is the relationships between the schools in the district, as well as communication.
“I do think the biggest subject we talked about was our relationships and communications, so we are working as a whole district,” she said.
“I’ve seen our schools work well as district schools, our principals and teachers feel like systems are going well with school’s themselves. It’s how we communicate with each other as a school board, as for administration, we need to improve.”
This will be Willow’s second term as a school board trustee after being sworn in last May after a byelection.
For Martens, the biggest thing is rebuilding the partnerships with SD27’s stakeholders and the Cariboo Chilcotin Teachers’ Association (CCTA) and BC Principals’ & Vice-Principals Association (BCPVPA).
“There’s a lack of trust,” said Martens. “The current term trustees have started a partnership table so people can voice their concerns and then we have the advisor for the Ministry of Education (Mike McKay) who’s here to help us with that too.”
This will also be Marten’s second term on the SD27 School Board, though she served a term as a trustee on the Peace River North School District 60 Board before coming here.
If elected, it will be Mary Forbes first time running for the school board, a prospect the waste management educator by trade she said she is excited for.
“My goal is about dealing with the problems the board is currently addressing and outlined in the 12 recommendations from [Ministry of Education Dianne] Turner’s report. That is my motivation,” she said. “I’m quite excited to follow the roadmap Ms. Turner has laid out with her 12 recommendations to get the school board in line, make sure it’s doing its job and putting its students first as well as their achievements, while still providing business practices and improving staff morale.”
Forbes echoed Martens, saying that the negotiations with the principals needed to be concluded immediately.
She also mentioned students in 70 Mile House who live around where the community meets the Thompson-Nicola Regional District (TNRD). The students have to decide whether they will be educated in CRD or TNRD schools. Forbes said she was excited to work with the community to make sure they’re getting what they need for their children.
Robyn Angus, also running for the first time, said she is putting her hat in so she can help steer the relationship between the parents/guardians of students with the board the higher- ups.
“I have been on the other side as a parent for over a decade. I have four young children. My oldest is a special needs child with an extremely rare chromosomal disorder that has in turn, more often than not, made me wonder what I could do to help other parents in the same scenario with regards to schooling,” she said, adding she would do anything she could to be a beneficial part of the community despite admittingly having limited knowledge on some of the issues the current board is facing.