Meet the candidates for Prince Rupert School Board

The candidates for School Board Trustee in Prince Rupert were given 350 words to talk to our readers.

Leonard Alexcee

Leonard Alexcee – Liyaamlaxha of the Gitnagangeek tribe – says he is running for re-election to the Prince Rupert School Board because he says there is more work to be done.

“I feel that what I contribute to the school board isn’t complete, I feel I have more to offer,” said Alexcee, who born in Lax Kw’alaams and has lived most his life in Prince Rupert.

“Education has always been a big thing to me.”

While Alexcee said money is always a big concern for the district, there is one particular initiative he sees as the top priority going forward.

“The one I would like to see is the government making a commitment to a new middle school. Every time I open the Province or look online I see a new school in the Lower Mainland or in the Okanagan. Right now the students are using the old PRSS building and it’s not healthy,” he said, adding that he would like to see the district stay the course.

“I think we’re on a good course. We have very good people on the board, that’s not to say everyone else running is not good, but we’re just getting the ball rolling. When I came I was a new trustee, the superintendent was new and the secretary-treasurer was new We’re just starting to gel and my wish is for us to stay the course. .

Alexcee wished everyone in the race the best of luck, and said people should vote for him because he is someone that you can trust.

“Whatever your concerns are, you can come and talk to me and I will do my best to bring those forward to the board,” he said.

Marty Bowles

I have lived in Prince Rupert for 34 years.  I have worked for the School District as a teacher of many subjects, from grades four to 12.  I have coached almost every sport offered.

My wife, Mae, is a grade two teacher, at Conrad Elementary School.  I have raised two children in Prince Rupert and both are graduates of our local public education.

I have been a volunteer in our community at every opportunity.  I am a lifetime member of the Northern B.C. Winter Games and I currently sit on the board of the North Pacific Cannery.  All this experience would make me an asset to the Prince Rupert School Board.

If our School Board is willing to work with all our stakeholders, we can solve many of our problems locally. We must put our resources into supporting the great work we currently do, in spite of difficult constraints.  What little money the Board has, must be spent as close to learners as possible, to relieve class size/composition issues.

Board money is too scarce to be spent on outside consultants, endless grievances and arbitrations.

We do good work in our District.  Our School Board needs to recognize that good work in a concrete way and not just pay lip service to it.

For more information about education issues and how candidates are responding in Prince Rupert District, please go to Skeena.org.

Barb Gruber

Barbara Gruber is an avid community volunteer who was was born and raised in Prince Rupert. Now she’s a grandmother with a grandson in grade 9 and she’s running for a position on the school board.

“I want to be part of the process to insure that our tax dollars are being spent wisely by the school district. I’m very interested in safety of the children, the air quality of the schools they’re going to,” says Gruber.

Gruber says she already has a number of issues she would push for action on if she was elected by Prince Rupert residents to sit on the school board.

First, she says, she wants to have the school board to do something for the kids who have to cross Park Avenue to do so safely instead of dashing across during a lull in the traffic.

“It’s time we either  lobbying the department of highways or somebody. There is not even a cross walk for children . . .I’m very concerned about that, especially with 200 trips back and forth of container traffic on Park Avenue” says Gruber.

She also would like to see the school district continue to recognize the importance of extra-curricular activities such as music, art and sports.  She says that the district should put more money into them instead of placing the burden on parents to come up with the money.

“I don’t believe that parents should have to fundraise for everything. There must be something somewhere to cut back so they could allocate some funds – I’m not saying all of it –  but some funds to be put to outside of school activities,” said Gruber.

Gruber says the number one reason to vote for her is that she will be a strong voice on the board who won’t allow herself to be  intimidated into supporting a bad idea, and wants more cooperation and accountability.

“School trustees have a responsibility to answer to the tax payers just as they have to have a good relationship with the parents. I believe we all need to work together.”

Terri-Lynne Huddlestone

I am a long-time resident of Prince Rupert, born and raised in the community. I am widowed and have a 17-year old son who is attending college. I am currently employed with Northwest Community College and Northern Health Authority.

I am seeking re-election on the Board of Education for School District No. 52. My passion for education and learning for all of our students has kept me focused on what is important in our community. Through our district achievement plan we have strategies in place that will continue to help our students excel in their efforts to learn, to achieve and to strive for excellence.

It is an exciting time for education with the recent announcement by the Ministry of Education about the new Education Plan that will promote education excellence. I would like to continue the conversations with our education partners on how we can incorporate these changes in our district and how we can better support students.

I have been active within the school district since 1997 through my involvement with the Parent Advisory Councils and the District Parent Advisory Council. I also have volunteered at the provincial and national level working with parents and students to promote public education.

Some of the highlights of my volunteer work are as follows:

BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils Board of Directors – 2001-2008

Canadian Home and School Federation National Board of Directors – 2001-2008

Canadian Home and School Federation Western Vice-President – 2004-2008

Success By Six – 2005-present

Canada’s Outstanding Principals Awards National Advisory Committee – 2005 – 2008

National Advisory Council on Child Nutrition (Vice-Chair) – 2007-2009

District Parent Advisory Council – 1999 – 2008

Breakfast for Learning BC Provincial Chapter- 2004-present

Breakfast for Learning National Board of Directors – 2007-present

Special recognition of volunteer efforts:

Canadian Home and School Federation Volunteer Recognition Award- June 2002

BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils George Matthews Award – May 2008

Canadian Home and School Federation National Volunteer of the Year Award – June 2011

I hope that my passion and dedication to public education will garner your support for re-election.

Brian Johnson

I have lived in Prince Rupert all 52 years of my life.

I graduated from PRSS in 1979. My 3 children also graduated in Prince Rupert. My work experience includes public and industrial accounting, grain inspection, management at a small export pellet operation, fishing and municipal work.

I have belonged to 4 union organizations over 27 years and have held positions of Chief Shop Steward, Treasurer, Vice President and President.

My community involvement includes:

– School Trustee 2003-2008

–  Past Director with the Performing Arts Centre- 4 years

– Past Director with the Unemployment Action Center Society

– Director with the Community Enrichment Society 2004 to present and hold the position of Treasurer

– Committee member with HRSDC for Poverty and Homelessness in our community- 2009 to present

I have coached youth in the areas of softball, bowling and Track and Field.  I had the wonderful opportunity of working with people to build the most successful and largest Track and Field team in Rupert’s history.  We brought home 3 zones banners.

I will bring to the table a “Team Building Approach”

I would like to re-establish the Partners in Education Committee to best deal with issues in our district and create the best learning environment for our students and staff. We need to utilize our recently closed schools.  Our community cannot afford to let them deteriorate.

I will make sure that all correspondence that goes to the Ministry of Education is also sent to our MLA and Education Critic.

Everyone in our community of education is important. We ALL must be successful! No one gets left behind. Our children are depending on us.

I ask for your support on November 19th.

Bart Kuntz

– Two Term School District No. 52 Trustee

– Vice-Chair of the Board

– Finance & Building Committee, District Improvement Team

I’m the son of George and Veronica Kuntz who have made Prince Rupert their home since 1971. I graduated from Prince Rupert Secondary School in 1988.

I  have been employed by CityWest for over 20 years. My wife Jody Kuntz works for Canada Boarder Services and we have two daughters. Taylor attends Prince Rupert Middle School and Nicole is a student at Pineridge Elementary.

As an incumbent member of the School Board I’ve been a strong advocate for School District No. 52 and have stood up for the learning needs of all students. I’m proud of making unbiased and well informed decisions that have faced our School district. A lot of good work has been started in partnership with stakeholders, but there is still more that we can and must do to ensure the success of all of our students. I am looking forward to continuing to serve my community as your representative on the Board.

Tina Last

My name is Tina Last and I am seeking re-election to the position of school board trustee for a fourth term.

I have been a resident of our community since trekking across the country with my parents from Nova Scotia in 1973 at age 9. My husband Chris and I have been married nearly 30 years and have raised our children in Prince Rupert. This coming June will see us celebrate the graduation of our fourth and final child from our public education system.

It has been my privilege to operate a licensed daycare in my home for the past 17 years, having had countless children come through our doors and enhance the lives of the Last family. I have been surrounded by and dedicated most of my life to children!

It was a natural decision in 2002 to run for school trustee. I have never regretted that decision. It has been a rewarding, and at times daunting, opportunity to affect the lives of the 2000+ students in our community.

The children in our public school system face challenges in today’s world that most of us never dreamed of or anticipated. The technological word these children were born into has changed the way we need to prepare them for their future. The instant access to information has enabled our students to be more informed than ever before. We, as policy makers, must ensure that our students are graduating with the necessary skills to not only survive this new world (like us aging citizens) but to succeed and thrive in it. To achieve this will require examination of our current system including curriculum and the age old September to June calendar and courage to change the way we do things.

I believe I have demonstrated, in the last 3 years in particular, that I do have that courage and desire to create change that will best benefit the students today and into the future. I thank you for your past support. I ask voters to please again Vote LAST 1st!

Louisa Sanchez

– Married to my husband Ernie for 52 years, We have two sons Ernesto, & Paul

– We are both are University Graduates. I graduated with a  B. Ed, M. Ed. I have lived & taught in Prince Rupert since 1973 and am a retired teacher

I have been actively involved in the school system, also with Prince Rupert Community Enrichment Society,   Immigrant & Multicultural Services Society, Aboriginal Child & Youth Mental Health program, Hospice Society, F.A.S.D. Society.

Key Issues include:

· Literacy and increased accountability for the success of our First Nations Students.

· Impact of decreased funding on the education system.

· Safer Schools.

· Encouraging parents to be involved in their children’s education.

· A Board that can tell us what we can do; Not what we can’t do.  Ensuring continued Community Support for public education.

I am running for school trustee because I believe that my experience as an educator can promote change.

We have a choice.  A choice to continue to provide quality education to our students.  I am committed to take a leadership role in keeping student achievement along with proper working and learning conditions for all teachers and employees in S.D. #52.

Now, more than ever, our schools need Trustees who can/will champion a strong and staple public education system that meets the needs of every child.

After all they’re your children, our students and everyone’s future in Prince Rupert.

It has been an honor and privilege to serve on our School Board for the last nine years. I ask for your support to serve as your Trustee Representative for another term.

Note: Profiles for Tanya Boudier and Russell Wiens were not received.