Election 2014: Newcomers target board seat

Vernon School District: Two new names join the list of candidates hoping to join the Vernon School District board of trustees.

Two new names join the list of candidates hoping to join the Vernon School District board of trustees.

Brenda Giffin and Lisa de Boer are two of the seven candidates vying for a spot as trustee. A total of seven trustees sit on the board: four representing Vernon, two for Coldstream and two from Lumby.

Giffin is the owner of Instant Replay Sports in Vernon and the mother of two children who are recent graduates of W.L. Seaton secondary school.

She sees the current education model as outdated and one that no longer meets the needs of students or society today.

“If the purpose of the public school system is to provide the basic academic skills required for modern living, it goes on for too many years,” she said. “If the senior secondary years are to be all based on academic requirements being met for academic post secondary, then all students need not be there.

“Is secondary school to provide the skills necessary to at least enter the job market?  Then we need to make sure those skills are actually learned by the students, not just pass the students because they have been exposed to those lessons.”

Giffin said budget is always the concern for any publicly provided services, such as education.

“But providing the most value with that budget to the most recipients, while keeping to the core of purpose of the education system is my goal,” she said. “During prosperous times extras are often added.  When those perks have to be withdrawn or limited, in order to provide the core services adequately, I can make those decisions but remain mindful of the consequences and attempt to find workable alternatives for those affected.”

De Boer is a mother of three children, two of whom are still attending school in the district, a daughter in Grade 4 at BX elementary and a son in Grade 9 at Fulton secondary.

She is a business professional who has worked in a variety of industries for the past 20 years and is taking a part-time leave from her consulting practice in order to focus on getting elected as trustee. She has a passion for education and believes that to make a difference for children, it’s crucial to participate in the education system in order to make that difference.

“I am a strong advocate for 21st century learning as I feel that all children do not learn the same way,” she said. “Essentially, I feel there is a natural synergy between who I am as a person, the skills I have developed in business and the role of a school trustee, it just made sense for me to run for the position.

“I am also at the phase in my life where I feel I can authentically commit the time, effort and energy required to be a top quality representative in SD 22.”

If elected, de Boer would continue to foster and develop quality relationships with all stakeholders within the district: students, parents, teachers, administrators, support and district staff as well as the community at large.

“In order to ensure the long-term success of our district, these relationships must be strong and viable and we must all feel like we are all an essential part of the SD22 team,” she said. “Our partnership with teachers has been tested this year, how we respond to this test is critical to our overall success today and moving forward.”

With costs on the rise, and funding down, de Boer said the district is being asked to do more with less, and developing creative solutions to meet and exceed educational goals is critical.

“We also need to continue to lobby government to provide more funding to support our educational system,” she said. “I hope to play an integral role as a trustee to enrich our children’s experience of learning and meet our students’ learning needs with a 21st century approach.”

Also seeking a seat as Vernon/BX trustee are incumbents John Armstrong, Mollie Bono and Kelly Smith, former trustees Steve Connor and Perry Wainwright.

Coldstream incumbent trustee Bill Turanski is going up against Robert Lee Nov. 15.