All but one of the current trustees said during a regular board meeting on Wednesday afternoon that they would seek re-election for another term. Marcie Fofonoff announced she would not be seeking re-election after serving one term as the representative for Chetwynd and area.
“I want to live away from the district for a little while and pursue other work and schooling elsewhere, so I won’t be here to represent the area,” said Fofonoff on her decision.
She said she is very excited about the direction of the district in regards to environmental initiatives, Aboriginal education, “21st Century Learning” and dual-credit partnerships with Northern Lights College. She added it was a very valuable experience to be involved in a role that requires complex decisions.
“I’ve been very privileged to work with this board, and with the school administrators and within the system, I think it has been very exciting. The opportunities for learning were huge for me, so that was great.”
Fofonoff is encouraging people to run for the position of school trustee, though she cautions the role requires tough decisions that are not always popular with the public. She said she also thinks it is important new trustees come to the board with an open mind and not get hung up on just one issue.
“It’s kind of not the environment for that, because you are working as a team and you are working on complex issues and structures,” she said.
Trustee Tamara Ziemer is also encouraging others to run as she said it has been a rewarding experience serving in her first term as a representative for Dawson Creek after being elected in a by-election in March, 2010.
“It’s just exciting to be involved in all of the changes being made, especially with the 21st Century education,” said Ziemer. “I feel like all the changes in education are addressing everything that I felt was lost on me (when I was in school).”
“I love the schedule, I love the work, I love the people and going to the PAC (parent advisory council) meetings and meeting the parents,” she added.
She said the learning curve is huge, but not overwhelming, and the schedule has been great for her as a mother of young children as she has been able to make it work without requiring full-time daycare for her three-year-old son. She added the administration and other trustees have been very helpful, and she feels she serves on a board where diversity of opinion is respected and encouraged.
“There’s never arguing, there are healthy discussions,” said Ziemer. “It’s okay to disagree …actually, I’ve been commended for standing my ground, they appreciate it.”
She said it is very important for people who have an interest in the school system to put their names forward to be trustees, especially young adults with children in the school system.
“It really gives you a different level of understanding and involvement in the system, and allows you take a bit more ownership over what is going on. I feel comfortable in all the schools – the staff and everyone is really nice around here. I haven’t run into one aspect of being a trustee I haven’t liked.”
She is also encouraging the general public to get educated on the issues and the candidates and come out to vote on Nov. 19.
Anyone who is interested in running to be a school board trustee is encouraged to visit the school district’s website at www.sd59.bc.ca to find out more about the role and its responsibilities, and to view the notice of nomination that includes information on where to pick up nomination forms in your area. That notice of nomination has also been attached below.