(L to R) Linda Kerr, Heather Stewin, Pattie Desjardins, and Lori Izawa are candidates running to be trustee.

(L to R) Linda Kerr, Heather Stewin, Pattie Desjardins, and Lori Izawa are candidates running to be trustee.

School District 78 trustee candidates Q and A

Three questions and answers with school board trustee candidates

Pattie Desjardins:

Why are you running to be a member of the school board?

I feel I can bring a lot to the board table, with my years of work and community volunteer experience. I’ve been a resident of Hope since 1990 and worked at the Hope Standard for more than 30 years. I have volunteered on many organizations in the past including the Hope Chamber, HATS, and minor sports groups as well as the vice-chair of PAC for more than 10 years.

Students in smaller rural communities face different challenges than ones in bigger cities. It’s important to acknowledge these challenges and advocate for the supports needed for student success and to have them ready for their journey after they leave high school.

What are the main issues you would like to see the board deal with this term?

Work-related preparedness is one thing I’m passionate about. We all know there is a huge labour shortage right now and we need to ensure our students have been given all of the tools they need to be successful in their chosen career path, whether it be professional or vocational.

Also, in the midst of the current opioid crisis, do we have enough supports/resources in place in our schools (at all grade levels) to help our students?

What challenges are you anticipating for this school year?

If elected I’m anticipating the first year on the board to be a learning year for me, where I will observe, study and participate when I’m up to speed. I’ve served on a governance board before and understand and respect the protocol that takes place.

Linda Kerr:

Why are you running to be a member of the school board?

I have been a student, a teacher, a parent of school children and a school administrator, so I have some experience from those points of view. I have also been a school Trustee for the last fourteen years, and I understand what a position of trust this is. The voting public wants to know that we are thoughtful people who listen to others and try to reach a collaborative decision. We also need to come to the many meetings we have with partner groups, having prepared well. And we need to hear the concerns that are brought to us with an attitude of solving problems as they arise.

What are the main issues you would like to see the board deal with this term?

• Alignment with the work on Reconciliation being done in our country and in our area. Preservation of indigenous languages.

• Child Care spaces in our schools.

• Ensuring that we have interventions in place for students who are struggling with the core subjects.

What challenges are you anticipating for this school year?

• Post-pandemic, we are already facing staff shortages. I think possibly the struggles faced by everyone over the past two years has pushed those who were just considering retirement into making that decision.

• Students have issues with anxiety after having been through a difficult time (not only the pandemic, but also the environmental events of the last year), which has caused them —and many others — to feel unsafe, no matter where they are.

• Because of very good managerial decisions in the past, we’ve accumulated a reserve, which we have to be very careful to manage so that it is spent wisely.

Heather Stewin:

Why are you running to be a member of the school board?

I am running for re-election because I feel it is important that all students have an equitable opportunity to learn in our community. I am passionate about education and creating a safe place for students to learn and grow.

What are the main issues you would like to see the board deal with this term?

I would like the board to continue with the work I have been involved in, on the equity in action committee. Indigenous education and inclusive education is essential to building school communities where all students feel welcome.

What challenges are you anticipating for this school year?

Recruitment and retention of staff, as well as the overall mental health of the school community. The past few years have been about responding to events that were not in anyone’s control. The challenge is to restore stability and meet people where they are in order for us to move forward. We need to ensure that the supports students need are available.

Lori Izawa:

Why are you running to be a member of the school board?

To help make a positive difference for students.

This is my hometown (4 generations in the Hope Region spanning 80 years) with years of volunteering in our schools & community. I care about student wellness; transformative learning experiences/opportunities via quality education & accessible multi-tiered supports; education stakeholders/community partnerships – all impact the trajectory of student success.

I’ve been a parent rep on several SD78 Committees: Budget Advisory, Careers & Transitions (enhancing trades opportunities for students), Education, Policy Development, and Gifted/Enhanced Education.

Examples of my community involvement: Children/Youth Mental Health Initiatives (Reducing Stigma); Healthy Communities (Hope Region & Agassiz/Harrison); Crime Prevention; Crime Stoppers; Spirit of BC – 2010 Winter Olympics

What are the main issues you would like to see the board deal with this term?

While it’s important to continue building on best practices of our current Board, reflecting the vision of the SD78 Strategic Plan:

Everyone Pulling Together to Improve the Achievement of All Learners; all Learners graduating with dignity, purpose, and options; more curious than when they arrived, having gained an understanding and respect for Indigenous ways of knowing.

Ensuring communication with stakeholder groups is inclusive: Conversations continue to be respectful, concerns heard, and solutions found collaboratively.

Ensuring ministry funding is adequate, equitable, and meeting the challenges of implementing ministry directives – an ongoing effort.

What challenges are you anticipating for this school year?

Ensuring students feel safe in this current climate of uncertainty. IE. Transitioning back to in-class learning from virtual lessons while navigating environmental conditions over the past year after health concerns thru the past couple of years.

Addressing staff retention.

Communication will be key.

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