Salmon Arm District Education Support Centre

UPDATE: Getting to know the school trustee candidates in Salmon Arm

The prospective trustees answer two questions including, if elected, what is your number one goal?

The Observer asked the 10 candidates for the two Salmon Arm trustee positions – Marcel Bedard, Amanda Krebs, Donald Podlubny, Lawren Richards, Jordan Ross, Daniel Shields, Terry-Mae Sinclair, Dale Townsend, Jenny Vachon and Marianne VanBuskirk – to provide a brief bio introducing themselves.

Two questions have been added to the bios. They are: Why are you running for school trustee and, if elected, what is your number one goal?

The candidates’ information and answers are listed below, alphabetically.

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MARCEL BEDARD

Bio:

I have been a Salmon Arm resident since 1997, arriving here with my wife and three daughters. I am employed at the City of Salmon Arm as their Bylaw Officer and have been doing Bylaw Enforcement for 24 years, enjoying the many challenges that go with the position. Before that I was a chef! – receiving my Red Seal in 1974. I have many outdoor interests including camping, and I enjoy the Silverbacks as well as volunteering.

2) Why are you running for school trustee?

With a provincial government constantly cutting back funds, I can be a valuable liason to our school system in working out the problems that arise. Still having a daughter in college keeps my beliefs in education and interests strong. I believe that students, parents and the community need open, clear and decisive decision making by someone not afraid to ask hard questions or make difficult decisions.

3) If elected, what is your number one goal?

My goal is to help restore trust and listen to the needs of students/teachers / support staff and help school district 83 to become the best district within our province

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AMANDA KREBS

Bio:

As a teacher for over 14 years, I bring a unique perspective. My degrees include a Bachelor of Science (math/biology); Bachelor of Education; Master of Mathematics. I am an instructor of math and science at Okanagan College, Salmon Arm campus. My experience as a financial advisor means I am very competent at budgeting, reading financial statements, and understanding money management. My children attend South Broadview, where I am on PAC and the DPAC rep.

2) Why are you running for school trustee?

The school trustee position, as we have seen firsthand, requires a good knowledge of educational policies and understanding of financial management. I’ve been working (as a teacher) in the educational field since 2001 and I also have a strong math and financial planning background. I’m running because I believe I can continue to lead this school board in the right direction. I am a life-long learner and look forward to the coming challenge!

3) If elected, what is your number one goal?

SD No. 83 has a strong strategic plan in place. My overall goal is to ensure the board sticks to its plan to put students first, have organizational efficiency, and a culture of health and wellness. My number one short-term goal is to work with key partners to build a firm foundation based on trust and respect. If elected, I pledge to be a steward and an advocate for our students, teachers, and support staff.

*****

DONALD PODLUBNY

Bio:

Don has lived in Salmon Arm since 2013. Now retired, Don is an active member and director with the Shuswap Rowing and Paddling Club. Don and his wife, Shirley, have two grown children and four grandchildren.

Podlubny was a Professional Forest Technologist in Alberta and was on the committee that wrote the act and regulations for its formation. Podlubny has chaired two governance boards, one a continuing education consortium. He also chaired the Hinton Municipal Library board.

2) Why are you running for school trustee?

I believe that one should participate in the community that one lives in. At this time I am a member and director of the Shuswap Rowing and Paddling Club. I also, believe that the skills and knowledge I have to bring to the Board of Trustees will be of value in providing the students of School District 83 with the education, tools and skills to move forward in the direction of their choice.

3) If elected, what is your number one goal?

My goal is to continue the accomplishments that our current Trustee Mike McKay has completed. I will work with the tools that have been put in place, such as; the Strategic Plan, Board Policies, and the new and enhanced partnerships within the school district. My key points are; continued transparency, using and updating a viable strategic plan, working with Board members and district administration, working with and exploring new partnerships.

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LAWREN RICHARDS

Bio:

A business consultant living with her children in the Shuswap since 2004, Lawren assists companies with strategy, process, and organization, and is on the Regional Advisory Council for Okanagan College. Lawren has an MBA from Georgetown University, was an advisor to Girls Preparatory School (the largest girls’ day school in the US), Board VP for the Shuswap Family Resource Society, a member of the Salmon Arm Social Issues Committee, and a volunteer business mentor.

2) Why are you running for school trustee?

I am passionate about education, community, and fiscal responsibility and believe that we need a strong school board to ensure that SD83 is top quality in all three of these aspects. My career has been built on creating and implementing solutions which enable organizations to thrive: I am running for trustee because I want to see our school district continue to become financially responsible, community oriented, and a vocal supporter of education to the province.

3) If elected, what is your number one goal?

To implement strategies that put the student as the focus of the school system: to see the students safe, healthy, and educated to the best of their potential. Administrators talk the talk now, but often do not walk the walk, as many parents as well as teachers have discovered. We need to implement best practices on safe schools, healthy bodies, and educating to individual capability; this push for excellence needs to start at the top.

*****

JORDAN ROSS

Bio:

I’ve lived in Salmon Arm for the past 14 years and have 3 wonderful children in local schools. In 1998, I earned a BA from UBC and have spent the last 25 years in a variety of business development roles.

I am a committed, energetic, and outgoing person. I enjoy working with teams on challenging initiatives that require consideration of all positions. I am a proven leader, a strong advocate and have strong interpersonal skills.

2) Why are you running for school trustee?

As an active community member and volunteer, I feel my experience in business and not-for-profits offers a balanced perspective to address the important opportunities and challenges that face education in our region. It is critical that accountability and transparency are at the forefront while ensuring our children remain the priority at every turn. I want to provide a solid foundation for every child’s education and ensure teachers have every opportunity to help our children excel.

3) If elected, what is your number one goal?

My top priority is to ensure the resources and decisions are made solely for the betterment of our children. Secondly, ensure there is complete transparency and accountability for our community. We also have to identify the needs and priorities of our community and ensure they are considered in decisions that result in practical educational opportunities for our students. Lastly, I want to create an environment that encourages dialogue between board members and school staff.

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DANIEL SHIELDS

Bio:

Proud Parent of three grown children. Currently employed with SD83 for 28 years as an ESW. I have been a PAC president and sat on many committees including “save SA Elementary.”

2) Why are you running for school trustee?

I am passionate about children and education. Every child deserves the resources to enable them to learn. I will ensure decisions made are transparent and the board accountable.

3) If elected, what is your number one goal?

Ensure each child receives the tools needed for success.

*****

TERRY-MAE SINCLAIR

Bio:

My husband and our children moved to Salmon Arm in 1997. Education and working background is business, finance and accounting. Positions include senior tax specialist, office manager, administrative assistant and treasurer. Employers include taxation office, legal firms, credit union(s), and sawmill business. My many years on PAC, DPAC and Board of Directors for non-profit organizations; holding executive positions including President; enhanced my skills in strategic planning, policies and procedures, budgets, financial accountability and productive teamwork.

2) Why are you running for school trustee?

I have the passion to be involved in the educational well-being of all students in SD 83 demonstrating this through many years as a PAC and DPAC parent. I believe strongly in the value of public education and local governance. I have the experience, time and energy to dedicate to this role. I am committed to listening, doing the research, putting in the time, and coming to a consensus. I believe in teamwork for best results.

3) If elected, what is your number one goal?

My number one goal is to be a hardworking, positive influence on the board in order to earn the trust and confidence of the community. I commit to building strong relationships, treating everyone with respect and dignity, advocating for transparency in all areas and recognizing the importance of feedback. I strongly believe in the importance of local representation in any governing body but honesty and integrity must be at the core.

*****

DALE TOWNSEND

Bio:

I have devoted my working career to the public education system in British Columbia, working for the local school system, the Ministry of Education, the BCTF and the College of Teachers. I am thus well versed in the public system and support it fully. I am a forty-five year resident in Salmon Arm and my wife and I raised our three children here and saw them educated in the public schools of this school district.

2) Why are you running for school trustee?

I have had considerable experience with the public education system, including experience in this school district. My experiences ranged from the classroom to chairing the College of Teachers with a budget in the millions, to dealing with the partner groups including the trustees and the Minister of Education. That career in public education was most rewarding for me and I now wish to give back to the system and the position of school trustee is an avenue to do so.

3) If elected, what is your number one goal?

The number one goal is the building of trust with consultation. The recent report on the school district pointed out the utter lack of trust. Even in small matters there must be reliability on board communications. There must be transparency and constant consultation in both directions with the board and affected parties. One immediate example is the closing of schools, actual and proposed, and the sale of property, both of which point to the lack of trust.

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JENNY VACHON

Bio:

Approachable, caring and passionate about doing things as it is the right thing to do not because it’s required. Working at WCG – Work BC allows the opportunity to provide the community with advice/knowledge/support on employment. Many leadership roles over the years, a career in finance (banking) and administration, an education in commerce. Jenny, her husband Brent and daughter Liz enjoy life in the Shuswap. Outside of work Jenny loves to cook, entertain and swim.

2) Why are you running for school trustee?

As a leader, that takes pride in collecting the facts, looking for advice and not afraid to make decisions. Working with fellow board members, respecting, students, staff, employees – to encourage discussion and collaboration. My vision for the School Board would be a cohesive group of leaders that look to our community members for input to seek solutions that provide benefit for the students. Education and caring people together we will continue to build communities!

3) If elected, what is your number one goal?

To be a part of a team that is approachable, competent and ready to get to work to put the needs of the students first. To create a positive culture that restores the trust of the community for the community. Salmon Arm is experiencing record growth, a proactive approach rather than reactive will be a part of my plan, with a focus on openness and transparency relationship building and consultation.

*****

MARIANNE VANBUSKIRK

Bio:

Marianne moved to Salmon Arm in 1994 and has been a teacher, principal, university supervisor for SD83. While on district leave, Marianne raises her children and continues to be a strong presence in schools as a volunteer, coach and referee. A well-known community leader/volunteer (Roots & Blues, Tennis Club, and more), Marianne is grateful to SD83 and wishes to give back. Marianne is a team player valuing clear communication and decisions based on students’ needs.

2) Why are you running for school trustee?

I am motivated to run out of care and concern for the students in School District 83. I am excited to work with all stakeholders (parents, teachers, support staff, central staff, First Nations educators, etc.) These groups work extremely hard for our students and they need our support. I would like to see student leaders involved too – our wise students have a lot to offer and I invite them to share their ideas.

3) If elected, what is your number one goal?

Quite simply my goal is to listen to the concerns of all stakeholders and provide the best support that I can to the students of School District 83 which means supporting all the folks who are advocating for students. Teachers, support staff, parents, central office, First Nations, student health advocates, etc. are all trying to achieve one goal – students first. I appreciate the services which these groups provide and I would like to support them.

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