School trustees are an important part of municipal governance, responsible for guiding the work of their school district according to the community’s unique needs. They set plans, policies and the annual budget.
According to the British Columbia School Trustees Association, trustees “engage their communities in building and maintaining a school system that reflects local priorities, values and expectations.”
There are eight candidates for School District 19 Trustee, and five will be elected following General Voting Day on Oct. 15, 2022.
We asked each of the candidates to answer three questions about who they are and why they’re running, what they’d like to achieve as a trustee, and three key issues they’d like to tackle if elected. Here are the responses from candidate Alan Chell:
Who are you as a community member? Why are you running for SD 19 Trustee?
Since moving to Revelstoke in 1981, I have always tried to contribute to our community.
As a community member, I coached soccer for 30 years, have organized 23 Little Bear soccer tournaments, helped with 30 Glacier Challenge softball tournaments, produced 15 community musicals and served on every Homecoming committee since I arrived here.
Through my career with the City of Revelstoke for 29 years as Director of Parks and Recreation I worked on many community projects including building our aquatic centre. When I retired in 2010, I ran for the Credit Union Board of Directors and have served on the RCU Board for the past 12 years.
I am deeply committed to public education and our School District. I was proud to play a role in obtaining funding and approval for the construction of the Revelstoke Secondary School, Begbie View Elementary, the Performing Arts Centre, the Gymnastics Centre and Early Years Centre. I have served as an elected school trustee for the past 38 years and I would welcome the opportunity to continue to contribute to our District in this role.
If elected, what would you like to achieve as a Trustee?
A school trustee is part of the leadership team for the District and I believe we can play our part in setting a positive, supportive culture. The Board needs to provide direction and oversight. As a Board, we need to make appropriate budget decisions with a focus on putting resources in the classroom while maintaining a small surplus as a contingency.
Revelstoke is regarded as provincial leaders in many areas and we have achieved particular success working with our early learning partners, creating small class sizes, having high graduation rates, being able to offer more secondary school course options than most small secondary schools are able to and our students do well on numeracy and literacy assessments.
I am also able to contribute provincially and am currently the Chair of the BC Public School Employers Association. In this role, I work closely with the provincial government, school boards from around the province and our two major unions in our sector: the BC Teachers Federation and CUPE.
Please identify three key issues you would like to advance and how you plan to do so if you are elected.
I would describe it more as 3 key issues we will be facing during the next term.
1. We have changed to be the Ministry of Education and Child Care. Right now, including child care in our mandate has seen some pilot initiatives under way but over the next 4 years, there will be a lot of growth and change in this area as we learn together provincially and locally. It will be essential to work with community partners to figure out how Education can make impactful decisions to include and support Child Care.
2. School District 19 has welcomed a new Superintendent and has just advertised for principal, and vice principal positions. Anytime there is change in leadership roles, there is work to do to come together as a new team working with the Board and maintaining our positive, collegial approach within our District.
3. Provincially and locally, we value the importance of working on the recommendations concerning the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action. There is a lot that is already underway, but we must all remain committed to continuing to listen, to build our understanding and to further the work on incorporating Indigenous ways of learning, knowledge and practice into both the curriculum and pedagogy in meaningful ways.