** Thank you Prince George. On October 20th, 2018 I was re-elected to serve the City of Prince George on the School District 57 Board of Education for another four years. I am going to keep my re-election stuff below so you can see what I ran on and ensure I am accountable for election promises. Thank you again for the opportunity to serve. **
It is has been an absolute honour to serve the communities of School District 57 over the past seven years. When I was first elected in 2011 I ran on a platform of fiscal responsibility (doing more with less), being an available and accessible trustee and advocating for our students, especially our venturing and/or vulnerable students.
For those who don’t know me, or know me well here is a brief bio:
- Husband to my amazing wife Carli and father to Ryan and Ian
- Belong to the Tsq’escenemc First Nations (Canim Lake Band), from the Shuswap Nation through my mother.
- Have worked with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Prince George since 2006 and have spent almost six years as Executive Director.
- Have been a School District 57 Trustee for seven years. During that time I was Board Vice-Chairperson for four years and have been Board Chairperson since 2016.
- Served two years as the Branch President of the Northern Interior Branch of the BC School Trustee Association
- Currently a first term Director on the BC School Trustee Board of Directors
- Currently serving on the BCSTA Indigenous Education Committee, BC K-12 Aboriginal Partners Round Table, BCSTA Student Initiatives Working Group and BCSTA Election Advisory Committee.
My reasons for running in 2011 and again in 2014 are the same reasons I am seeking re-election in October. I believe public education plays a critical role in helping our youth open their eyes not only to what is but to what can be. Our staff members are not only teachers but are caregivers, mentors and allies. I believe that the issues faced in Robson Valley and Mackenzie are different than those faced in Prince George and that the issues we face in north central BC are different that those that are being faced in the lower mainland, and we have to continue to advocate to government to ensure our students have the resources and supports they need to succeed when they leave the K-12 sector.
My campaign this year is built on the following pillars:
- Proven leadership
- Accessible, available and accountable
- A voice for venturing students
- Continue to improve relationships and resources.
There are a lot of challenges and opportunities ahead both for our District but also Public Education in British Columbia. Locally, one of the biggest issues is catchment and capacity of our schools. Due to increasing enrolment our board has taken some steps to address capacity and catchment in Prince George. However, our student enrolment is still growing and there are schools, and families of schools that are nearing, at or over capacity. This is going to need to be a priority of the next board.
In addition the government has collected feedback on the current funding formula and will be introducing changes to the current funding formula this fall. We are lead to believe that the total funding will not be increased, but rather redistributed. This will create winners and losers and we need leadership to advocate to government to ensure our students are not disadvantaged because of changes made as a result of the review.
Not only is there the funding formula review, but we are still in the process of supporting our staff with the implementation of the new curriculum, we are entering into bargaining with both our teachers and support staff, and helping improve student achievement results for all students.
I have the skills, experience and leadership to support our district through all these challenges and any other that will be thrown our way during the next mandate.
Accessible, Available and Accountable:
I am elected by the citizens of Prince George and the communities that make up School District 57. This means that I need to be accessible, available and accountable. Since I was elected I have worked hard to ensure this was the case. Whether it is taking the time to visit schools, accept invitations to meet, answering phone calls, replying to emails and engaging on social media. Regardless of the conversation I strive to make myself accessible, available and accountable. This will continue if re-elected.
Here is how you can connect with me:
Instagram and Twitter: @tiben12
A Voice for Venturing Students:
I have the opportunity to work with many children and families living in Prince George. Unfortunately there are many that are dealing with challenges that impact the student’s ability to come to school in the right condition to learn. While the District has made some impact in this area over the past couple years through the approval of the Comprehensive Academic Intervention Strategy (CAIS) (consisting of implementation of comprehensive curriculum resources and materials, professional development and teacher training, incorporating assessment for, as and of learning including specific ongoing measures of progress) and After School Academic Proficiency Program (ASAP) (an intentional intervention and cultural programming after school 3 days a week for 32 weeks including academic intervention in literacy and numeracy, cultural programming, health and nutrition and mindfulness) programs there is still work to do.
My immediate priorities over the next mandate to support venturing students would be:
- Continue to advocate government for additional funding to support our venturing students (currently is Community Link funding but this may change with new funding formula and we need to ensure this funding is not lost).
- Find ways to break down barriers and work with other organizations to allow for full wrap around supports for students.
- Advocate for staff to use feedback from our partners and expanded committee of the whole to develop a strategy for the use of our surplus over the next three years to develop and/or grow programs and hire the appropriate staff to improve the physical, social and emotional needs of SD57 students.
Continuing to Improve Relationships and Resources:
I am very proud to be the trustee that pushed for the development of our strategic plan and that the board not only approved that motion but has since approved an operationalized strategic plan. The plan states that our mission is to Inspire Learning Anyway. This is a mission I take very seriously.
We can’t focus on this work if our house is not in order. The District is in a very good financial position. Not only are we balancing our budget but in May 2018 we approved a budget and added an additional $800,000 of programs and services in support of students and staff. We still have a small reserve that we can use to continue to build staff capacity and provide supports for students.
In addition to a good financial health our district has done a lot of work over the past couple years to improve governance and operations. This includes approving various policies, implementing an annual board review, implementing standard employment practices such as regular performance reviews and building relationships with our community stakeholders.
My immediate priorities over the next mandate would be:
- Continue to improve communications and relationships between the board and community (both stakeholders and electorate)
- Strengthen our relationships with our Indigenous Communities and continue to support the work being done by the SD57 Aboriginal Education Department
- Review the SD57 Rural Education Ad-Hoc Committee report, recommendations and actions for the purpose of discussing what else we can do to provide additional support for our rural communities
- Review the recommendations from the District Technology Committee and the Ad-Hoc committee on Technology to improve technology infrastructure and practices within the district.
- Review board practices to determine if there is a more efficient way of doing business.
As a parent, trustee, board chair, community member and Executive Director I spend each and every day working hard to ensure the best for our children and youth. From the time I wake up to the time I go to bed I am committed to making our community better for not just my boys’ generation but for future generations. I am all in.
On October 20th I hope to have the opportunity to continue what I have started and if re-elected I promise to continue to be a leader, be accessible and be a champion for our kids.
For information about the 2018 election click here.
As I get questions about my campaign I will share them under Tim’s Thoughts. Have a look and let me know what you think.