School trustee candidates on why you should choose them

On Thursday, Oct. 11, School District 52 trustee candidates are presenting their ideas to the public at Javadotcup starting at 7:00 p.m.

Here is a preview of what the candidates want to bring to the board if elected.

David Cook

Here are some thoughts about why I would be a good school trustee:

1. I live in Prince Rupert. I have a vehicle so I can get to any place in Prince Rupert or Port Edward easily and quickly. I have time to do the job.

2. I had a BSc from UBC followed by a year of teacher training when I started. Later I upgraded to an MEd from UBC. I have maintained my teaching certificate so it remains in effect.

3. I have taught as a regular on-staff teacher at PRSSS / PRSS and as a TTOC. I am familiar with the Middle School building. I agree it needs to be replaced.

4. I have served on the Prince Rupert Hospital Board and Prince Rupert City Council. I have held positions in the Prince Rupert District Teacher’s Union (PRDTU). Those experiences have helped me understand how boards work.

5. I support Art, Music, Drama and Dance programming because it provides opportunities for discovering and developing talents which can lead to careers. Same goes for sports.

6. Over the years I have worked as a regular teacher or TTOC at every school in SD#52 except Hartley Bay. I believe I have the knowledge and experience to make a strong contribution.

I have enjoyed participating in this election and, if elected, will do the job to the best of my ability.

Al Ernst

Over the past 19 years I have had many discussions with teachers and support staff in SD 52. Concerns and issues have been raised. I’ve decided to run for school trustee based on my desire to make a positive impact.

I want to see an education system that focuses on education! Sounds simple, but in this world of budgets and cutbacks, it’s not as easy as it seems.

I would like to see a community where excellence is admired. Where aspiring to achieve greatness becomes the new norm. Education is a pillar to the success of any free civilization. I want this generation to succeed! I believe we can create a culture where learning is desired and where common sense once again becomes common.

I believe in reconciliation. We have a long road to travel. Inroads have been made into righting the wrongs of the past. So much more needs to be done! We need to foster a culture of trust and respect in our educators, the parents and in the system. Trust and respect are earned. Work is needed. We will only succeed by working together towards shared goals. We have been doing a lot of things correctly and we are blessed with some amazing educators, but this is just the beginning of where we can/should be!

Proactive leadership is required. I believe I can be a positive, creative influence, and a solid team player. A fearsome foe, and an amazing, tenacious, dedicated, committed ally. I do not walk away from confrontation. I have, and will continue to fight for what I believe in. With your support we can make the difference Prince Rupert deserves.

Steve Finnigan

I believe our children are the foundation for our future. We owe it to them to give them the best education possible. How can we do that? First, nobody can do it alone, it takes a village, we need collaboration. The new school board needs to be transparent, take ownership, and communicate, to build and repair its relationship with teachers, parents, Aboriginal communities, as well as local and provincial governments. If we can’t work together and put the children first then we aren’t in the right place.

We MUST attract and retain teachers. We MUST attract and retain a district psychologist to SD52 to designate children with special needs. Without one, children go undiagnosed. It is heartbreaking and wrong.

We need to support the amazing staff working in our schools by giving them the tools they need to do their jobs. Such as establishing training programs for our Education Assistants and support staff, to build a strong cohesive team based around our teachers. These people are shaping the minds of a generation and we are not investing enough in them. They deserve more from us.

We need to advocate provincially for more services for special needs children, and for accountability in how those services are provided. We need equitable pay to attract and retain teachers.

The “To Do” list is lengthy and daunting, and there is so much more.

I want to be a part of strengthening our community’s foundations. I know that we can do it together. Vote Finnigan on October 20th.

RELATED: Province funds $1,130,00 to upgrade Prince Rupert Middle School

James Horne (incumbent)

Hello, my name is James Horne, and I am running for the position of school board trustee in the upcoming election. I am an incumbent, having been in the position since the last election four years ago.

In that time I have been chair of the Policy Committee, represented the board at the Aboriginal Education Council, sat on the District Technology Committee, and the Framework for Enhance Student Learning, and been the representative at the BCSTA Provincial Council.

Having these roles and responsibilities have taught me the importance of collaboration, transparency, accountability and respect.

I am proud of what has been accomplished over that term, including implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation report, putting the students first, and maintaining good financial management. I am committed to continuing to listen to the needs of students and what the community’s needs are, and looking for progressive solutions that not only fix immediate problems, but also promote future opportunities.

Thank you, for having faith in me to represent you at SD52 board of education.

Terri-Lynne Huddlestone (incumbent)

Terri-Lynne is in her 10th year as a School Trustee on the Board of Education and has spent much of that time as the board’s representative to BCPSEA. In 2015 Terri-Lynne was appointed to the BCPSEA Provincial Advisory Committee and earlier this year was acclaimed as a Director on the Board of BCPSEA. Terri-Lynne is no stranger to boards and committees and has been actively engaged in many throughout the years locally, provincially and nationally with a range in education, health, and nutrition.

Prior to becoming a trustee, Terri-Lynne spent many years on the PAC and District PAC; 7 years on the BCCPAC Board and served simultaneously on the national board of the Canadian Home and School Federation and 4 years as Western Vice-President. She also served as Vice-Chair on the National Advisory Council for Child Nutrition; and 6 years on the Breakfast for Learning Board. Currently Terri-Lynne serves as Chair of the BCSTA Professional Learning Committee where the goal of the committee is to provide exceptional pro-d learning opportunities for trustees.

Terri-Lynne is honoured to have received the following awards which has acknowledged her dedication and commitment to public education: The Canadian Home and School Federation’s National Recognition Award; BCCPAC George Matthews Award for Parent Leadership; and the CHSF National Volunteer of the Year Award.

“We need experience to bring the board and the district through our bargaining process in 2019, ensuring fair and successful bargaining with our teachers and support staff; improving relationships with our education partners and community, and working through the new funding formula.”

On October 20th, re-elect Terri-Lynne Huddlestone for School Trustee.

Bart Kuntz (incumbent)

It has been my privilege to serve my community as a school trustee for the past 13 years. I am seeking re-election for a fifth term. I have two daughters; Nicole who attends Charles Hays and Taylor, a student at UBC Sauder School of Business.

I’ve been a strong advocate for School District No. 52; standing up for the learning needs of all students. I’m proud of my record of making unbiased and well-informed decisions facing our school district.

I think most people agree we must make changes to the education system to better prepare our students for a changing world. With this approach, we will need to consult our stakeholders to ensure that the BC’s Education Plan meets the unique and local needs of our students and community.

I have always faced difficult board decisions with the same approach. My only agenda when voting is to provide the best education with the resources we are provided. I gather as much information as possible and then I’m guided by a simple rule. “What is best for our students and my community?” Prince Rupert and our students are facing an ever-changing world, so we need to prepare them with the tools to succeed. My experience as a school trustee will be an asset as we continue to work towards this goal. I am looking forward to continuing to serve my community as your representative on the Board.

Vote Bart Kuntz for school trustee on October 20, 2018.

Kristy Maier

My name is Kristy Maier and I am running for School Board Trustee. I grew up in Prince Rupert and then returned to this beautiful city to raise my family. I have been actively engaged in my children’s education by holding executive positions on both the Roosevelt and/or PRMS Parent Advisory Committees (PAC) for 10 years and District PAC for 3 years.

My vision for our School Board is: transparency, collaboration, advocacy, and students first.

Transparency by broadcasting meetings and welcoming all stakeholders feedback on decisions that matter. We need to ensure that our budget dollars are spent in the classroom to support the success of all students.

Collaboration with parents, families, students, educators, and community members will allow School Board Trustees to make the most informed decisions available to them. Regular meetings with meaningful discussions with stakeholders are a must.

With the voice that you give me I will advocate for; adequate and stable provincial funding K-12, resources to support the new curriculum, transportation for students in outlining area, seismic upgrades and continued maintenance of our school facilities.

Students first means that all learners are provided with a safe and inclusive learning environment. Putting money back into the classroom by hiring adequate staffing, offering sufficient specialized supports, and making sure students have the resources they need to succeed!

Please vote on October 20th. Put our children first!

Jessica Newman

I am focused on gaining adequate funding to fulfill our policies, and curriculum. It is essential we build a strong relationship with the provincial and municipal government so we can prove that we are worth the investment. Through this we can focus on quality of life and health.

Where do we start? The middle school students have been neglected long enough, among other health issues, the school building is not seismically sound and kids deserve a safe place to learn.

As a mother of two beautiful Nisga’a daughters, a former competitive athlete and a current coach to many youth, I have developed a passion and focus on enhancing lives with art, music, athletics, language and culture. By enriching this experience for children and their families, I have been able to encourage resilience, which also links in closely with healthy food nourishment and teaching food sustainability. I want to reflect all of this on our schools. We live on a wild coast where we have so much to offer, let us continue to utilize our surroundings! It is essential students have the ability to find adventure. It sparks wonder, passion and higher learning.

“Vote for me and lets get our kids where they need to be.”

RELATED: Heart of Our City – Louisa Sanchez, educating on diversity

Louisa Sanchez (incumbent)

My name is Louisa Sanchez. I am running for school trustee because I believe my experience as an educator can promote change. I have a proven record of advocating for students, parents, support workers and teachers.

I am a strong advocate for:

  • stronger democracy and more meaningful, comprehensive and respectful public consultation.
  • a renewed focus on the learning outcomes and learning conditions.
  • a genuine commitment to diversity and community partnerships.
  • consistent policies to create safer and healthier school communities.

As an incumbent trustee, I will continue to go to the school that I am assigned as the liaison trustee. I have been fortunate to visit all schools in this district. I have attended many events, attended PAC meetings, made suggestions and answered questions to parents at these meetings and in the community. Connecting with parents and other stakeholders builds trust and respect for trustees.

Now, more than ever, our school district needs trustees who can/will champion a strong and stable public education system that meets the needs of every child. If re-elected, I will continue to be present in our schools and classrooms. I pledge to make decisions that are representative and fair to all and will lobby to support the new curriculum as well as seismic and building upgrades.

I ask for your support to serve as your trustee representative for another term.

Kate Toye

My name is Kate Toye, I was born in Prince Rupert and raised in my parents’ corner store, Henry’s B-Y, where I discovered first hand what community development looks and feels like.

I went to Conrad, Booth and graduated from PRSS. I lived away for 16 years and returned home to raise my family and I now have two children at PRMS and one in Conrad Elementary.

I have sat on Parent Advisory Committees and as a District PAC representative. I work in Community Development and Aboriginal Engagement for children birth to six and their families. This profession has given me an incredible understanding of early childhood development and the opportunity to partner with many sectors in community from social services to education to business. I understand the importance of partnerships and I believe when we build together we are stronger.

I am passionate about the children in our community, I believe our children deserve to have safe schools that create the best environments for learning. I will be a trustee that is present, one that has first hand understanding of the challenges and opportunities in our district and community and is then able to make informed, inclusive decisions. I believe that parent and community involvement is vital to the success of our district and I will work at creating opportunities for the board to be more present and transparent with families and community. I am qualified, driven and inclusive and I am enthused to serve as your School Board Trustee.

RELATED: Heart of Our City – Kate Toye does it for the kids

Tina Last (incumbent) – did not submit a statement

Rural Trustee candidates

Janet Beil (incumbent) and Joanne Lewis Dudoward did not submit a statement.



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