Connie Watts is running for a seat on the SD70 school board in the 2018 municipal election in Port Alberni. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Connie Watts is running for a seat on the SD70 school board in the 2018 municipal election in Port Alberni. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

ELECTION 2018: Connie Watts would bring creativeness if elected to the SD70 board

Watts believes her success as a business owner and artist would be assets to the school district

My name is Connie Watts and I am from the Tseshaht Nation. My mom is Jane Jones, and my grandparents were Louise and Tom Watts. I am running for a seat on the School District 70 board of trustees.

I was raised with our First Nations’ values and ways: where great love, support and help surrounded you, so you can reach your true potential. I will work to build respect through information and open communication. I want to ensure the voices of teachers, parents and students are heard in the development and implementation of the growing and changing curriculum.

I believe in education. I have my Bachelor degree in Interior Design from the University of Manitoba. In my early 20’s I lost my ability to read and write and memory due to a double skull fracture. When I was recovering, I turn to education. I earned my second degree in Fine Arts from Emily Carr University. This journey has instilled a deep compassion and understanding for the variety of teaching methods need to reach all students.

I believe in smaller classes, proper support and building resources to ensure equality amongst all students. I am a business owner and project manager. As Venues Aboriginal Art Manager, I was in charge of a two-million-dollar budget that I then raised with another $870,000; bring the total budget to just under $2.9 million. It was a successful two-year project, where I procured, commissioned and install more than 50 permanent Aboriginal artworks into the 16 Olympic venues in Vancouver.

I am a creative thinker with the ability to adapt to find the best solutions to work with budgets, policies and legalities. I embrace diversity with every part of my being and would work to create inclusive environments.

I have taught in many schools, but one of the most rewarding projects was in 2017 at Eighth Avenue Learning Centre (VAST). A group of students and myself worked together to create their expression of the journey through school. The final four painted panels are on display in the school; a very proud moment for all of us.

I would actively seek ways to ensure that every member of the school community feels valued, safe and represented. I would encourage the implementation of curriculum around SOGI 123 and gender equality. For more than 20 years, I have worked to develop teaching tools and curriculum for the Nuu-chah-nulth language and have created artwork instilled with our First Nations culture. In 2014, I created the memorial sculpture, “Strength from Within” for the survivors of the Residential School.

If elected, I would use this knowledge and expertise to implement the Truth and Reconciliation recommendations into SD70 in order to build a more comprehensive understanding of our cultural ways and language. Please vote for my Mom, Jane Jones and me, Connie Watts for school board trustees.