Today I am announcing that I am not planning to run for re-election for the New Westminster School Board in 2018.
It has been an honour to represent the people of New Westminster over the last 39 years as your School Trustee. Over that time we have dealt with many challenges and issues, from school fires to school replacements to new schools. All the while we have kept the concept of student and community at the centre of all of our discussions. We have worked hard with our staffs and our community to meet the needs of all of our students and our community.
In my time on the School Board our district was looking for different ways to meet student and community needs and wants before most in the province. We were offering alternate approaches for learning years before the provincial government. We recognized that there is not just one way to succeed in school and worked hard to establish programs to meet all students needs. Most of those programs have survived in one form or over, but my biggest regret as a School Trustee is that some of the programs were established by passionate and committed educators, but were not sustainable without those people.
As a School Board we embraced change for students and the community that met their needs and desires, not always with the full support of our administration and sometimes with some very vocal opposition by a small group of people, but the School Board persevered and implemented what the community wanted for their students.
But this is not about one individual, it is about a succession of 7 member School Boards over the past 40 years who saw the needs and were prepared to respond and meet those needs. Every Trustee I have worked with brought passion and commitment to the job of serving the citizens of New Westminster. We often had spirited discussions, but were always focused on the goal of improving the system for our children and our community. I have also worked with some exceptional School Trustees who went well above and beyond in their desire to make changes for our children and our community. But this is not about any one individual, this is about how we worked together, how we collaborated, how we included everyone at the table and found compromise to make the School Board decisions over 95% unanimous or found consensus over those 39 years. School Boards, that function properly, are all about working together.
I would like to thank my brothers and sisters in the Labour Movement for their support over the years. I would particularly like to thank CUPE, the NWTU and the New Westminster and District Labour Council.
I would also like to thank my wife Leanne who has put up with all those meetings and phone calls over the years. I could not have done this without your support, encouragement, thoughtful discussions and most of all your love.
39 consecutive years in elected office
First elected November 17, 1979
In my time on the Board:
- Programs of Choice
- French Immersion (Early and Late)
- Outdoor School
- Virtual School
- Bowen Island
- Hume Park
- Home Learners
- International Education
- Secondary Programs
- Music/Fine & Performing Arts
- Fine Arts Mini School
- Middle Schools
We built schools:
- Queen Elizabeth Elementary
- Spencer Elementary
- Fraser River Middle
- Glenbrook Middle
- Queensborough Middle
- Qayqayt Elementary
- and now a new NWSS