The inaugural meeting of the new School District 5 (SD5) Board of Education took place Thursday afternoon at the Board office in Cranbrook.
Trustee incumbents Trina Ayling, Chris Johns, Doug McPhee and Patricia Whalen, and first-time Trustee, Wendy Turner, won their seats on the Board through acclamation as the only Cranbrook trustee candidates. Fernie incumbent Frank Lento, Sparwood incumbent Bev Bellina and first-time Elkford Trustee, Kathryn Kitt were also acclaimed. Krista Damstrom of Jaffray-South Country was the sole trustee to win her seat following an election.
Trustee Frank Lento was acclaimed as Board Chair for the tenth consecutive year. Following the swearing-in ceremony conducted by Secretary-Treasurer, Rob Norum, Lento provided a warm welcome to both veteran and “rookie” Trustees and described the beginning of a new school Board’s mandate as a time to examine new perspectives, offer new opportunities and reset some goals in response to the dreams and aspirations of students and their families.
Lento went on to describe the magnitude of responsibility demanded by the Board as they manage a $63 million budget, more than 600 employees and approximately 5600 students spread amongst 17 schools, across five communities.
“While this responsibility may seem daunting at times, our District is blessed with passionate staff and exemplary leadership from our Superintendent, Lynn Hauptman and Secretary-Treasurer, Rob Norum. As a Board, we set the tone and chart the course; our Superintendent and her team set the pace and read the map.”
Lento says that while he expects there will be some minor course changes with the advent of a new Board, school replacement and advocacy for public education will continue to be district priorities.
“Isabella Dicken elementary school in Fernie now has seven (7) portables to accommodate its growing school population. It, and the ageing Mount Baker Secondary School in Cranbrook are both in great need of replacement and the Board will continue to advocate to government until these needs are met.”
Lento goes on to say that the Board will also continue to advocate for the adequate funding, staffing and resources required to support public education in BC (and SD5), nurture existing partnerships, such as with the College of the Rockies (COTR) and seek out new collaborative partnerships to enhance student learning opportunities, and to further the District’s efforts toward school replacement and the upgrading of ageing and inefficient building facilities throughout the District.
– From School District 5