Students in the Alberni Valley will benefit from $800,000 in provincial funding. NEWS FILE PHOTO

Students in the Alberni Valley will benefit from $800,000 in provincial funding. NEWS FILE PHOTO

ELECTION 2022: School District 70 trustees introduce themselves to voters

Nine candidates from the Alberni Valley put their names forward to sit on board of education

There are nine candidates running for School District 70 trustee in Port Alberni. Five candidates are incumbents hoping to regain their seats. Cynthia Orr of Tofino has been acclaimed as the west coast representative on the SD70 board.

The Alberni Valley News offered the nine competing candidates the chance to run a brief profile and photo in a special election section in our Oct. 5, 2022 edition. An all-candidates meeting for school trustees and ACRD electoral area candidates was hosted by the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce on Oct. 4 at RimRock Casino in Port Alberni. General election voting day is Saturday, Oct. 15. Advanced voting days are Oct. 5 and Oct. 12. Voting takes place from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, go online to acrd.bc.ca/2022election.

Following are the nine candidates in alphabetical order.

JOHN BENNIE

I have served as a school trustee for 20 years, since 2002.

I am dedicated to and passionate about education, and as such I am an advocate for stable, sufficient and predictable funding for public education. I am committed to fiscal responsibility and accountability.

I am committed to the hiring of Indigenous educators and staff in our district. Furthermore, I support the ongoing integration of Indigenous culture, language and activities into our curriculum. I will continue to advocate for resources directed to special needs education.

CHERILYN BRAY

My name is Cherilyn Bray and I am a candidate for school trustee in the upcoming municipal election. I work as a youth care worker here in Port Alberni and I have an 18-year-old son that just graduated from ADSS. I was born and raised in Port Alberni and spent a number of years living in Tofino after graduating high school.

I decided to run for school trustee to bring a fresh face to the board, to represent the parents in SD70 and to advocate for all students within the district no matter the challenges. I believe my past and current experience will be valuable and I look forward to working with both existing and new trustees on the board.

ROSEMARIE BUCHANAN

Having served 26 years on the school board, I bring a proven history of public education advocacy, commitment and dedication. I initiated the name change of the school now known as Tsuma’as Elementary. I bring the district’s history to the board table, and looks forward to more progress in the future, including truth and reconciliation, full inclusion which supports excellent learning environments for all students, and increasing the graduation rates, to name a few.

PAM CRAIG

I am honoured to have served 23 years as a school trustee. My motivation is a deep sense of responsibility to work hard to make sure every student has the opportunity to succeed to the best of their ability. A strong local trustee voice is paramount to communicate the unique needs of SD70 Pacific Rim students to government.

Trustees must be committed to the highest standard of care by being informed, by completing due diligence and by fully understanding the issues. Student well-being and student achievement are top of mind for me in making decisions that benefit the entire district.

I believe the most effective school trustee traits are experience, knowledge and reliability. I gratefully request your support.

JANIS JOSEPH

Born and raised in Port Alberni, I have worn a variety of hats–with parent being the most important. My commitment to my community as Board of Education trustee is to ensure that all students are represented in a respectful manner, and to have families feel their importance with their child’s education. All students have the right to be in a space where they feel safe to be authentic, seen, heard and understood. On Oct. 15 I ask you to vote for change because ‘we all belong.’

LARRY RANSOM

Larry Ransom is an incumbent trustee candidate. He is a life-long Alberni Valley resident and ADSS graduate. He retired after a 42-year career at Safeway and Save-On-Foods. Larry is co-founder and former president of AV Minor Lacrosse. he is former chair of the SD 70 board during approval, planning, construction and opening of the current ADSS.

Larry supports policies that develop safe, inclusive and evolving learning in schools with healthy student extra- curricular activities including music, theatre and athletics. He strives to improve the district graduation rate by supporting the removal of barriers to post-secondary opportunities through dual-credit courses at North Island College and encouraging careers courses relevant to students including trades, forestry, natural resources, sciences and skills training.

JEN SMITH

My name is Jen Smith and I am a candidate seeking a SD70 trustee position. I have a degree in social work, I am actively involved with the John Howitt Elementary PAC and a trustee for the Cherry Creek Water District.

I am passionate and excited for the opportunity to play an active role in the education of children within our community. Moving forward, I feel it is crucial that trustees engage with school staff, teachers, EAs and parents in our decisions. We also need to be regularly engaging with our PACs and DPAC. Collaborating with these people will provide the best balance in our decision making.

CHRIS WASHINGTON

I was born, raised and went through the school system in the Alberni Valley. For six and a half years I represented our community on the North Island College board. The last four years as a school trustee have been an extreme eye opener. Our community is rife with racism, bigotry and intolerance. We have the highest level of child poverty in the province. These issues are both unacceptable and unbearable for me and have a dramatic effect on our school system and our children. In this day and age, there is no rationale for such behaviours.

The only way we can fight this is to educate critical thinking, thoughtful children who grow up and become good community citizens and leaders. We have to create a system where every child feels safe and honoured.

We need to provide them with the tools to succeed and be certain that their individual success is just that, individual.

HELEN ZANETTE

I have been an active member of school Parent Advisory Councils (PACs) and the District Parent Advisory Council (DPAC) for about nine years now. In this volunteer role I have advocated for families and students and continually shared information and education updates. I believe in vaccinations, am pro-choice (abortion rights), and environmentally conscious.

New voices are needed on our Board of Education. I have built a relationship with the school board and parents in our schools. I have the time to devote to this position and believe in quality and equality in education for all.

Alberni-Clayoquot Regional DistrictEducationElection 2022Port Alberni

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