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Four school trustee candidates see challenging times ahead



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The challenges for the future are keeping pace with the changes the Liberal government is introducing to education.

"The ministry is stepping back from being directive to asking people to be more accountable and giving back more responsibility to the school districts.

"I think we’ll have to be more proactive than reactive and I’ve always been a proactive person and I’m ready to take on the challenge."

New school trustee candidate Don Brett agrees this is a critical time in the educational system in B.C. He has been living in Whistler for the past three years with his family and recognizes that there are significant changes coming from the provincial government.

During that time he has been very active at Myrtle Philip as the school’s District Parent Advisory Council representative and previously served on the school’s Parent Advisory Council.

These provincial changes, like accountability at the district level and school planning councils at the school level, need to be streamlined.

"The key task here is to pull together these various elements of change, manage the change and ensure that you have a cohesive set of performance goals," he said.

"The whole goal here is to do a better job with the kids."

He said he is not criticizing the job of the board in the past but the coming years will present new challenges.

"All of this relates to organizational goal setting, monitoring and review and improvement and it’s all new to the school district," he said.

In order to have a more cohesive organization Brett says there must be common language developed to talk about school board issues.

This common language will make it easier to agree upon set goals.

Brett says there are important educational issues going on in other parts of the district too, not just in Whistler.

"The profile of the communities in this district is very different from Squamish to Whistler to Pemberton. A good trustee has an obligation to ensure that the entire district is within his or her view."

Brett has two children in elementary school and one in high school.

His family moved to Whistler after spending three years in Sweden, where Brett was working for an international bank.

"I think the organizational skills, which I have developed, are critical to the success of the school district and that is what I bring," he said.

Living and working in Sweden also gave Brett the chance to observe another school system.