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Two candidates vying for Pemberton's school trustee position

Nicole Sugden and Michelle Butler seek job

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In addition to electing its councillors, Pemberton will have an opportunity to vote for its local school trustee during local elections.

There are two candidates running for one school trustee position.

Nicole Sugden is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of British Columbia, with a research focus on child development. Sugden also has board experience, as she is the current chair of the Developmental Section of the Canadian Physiological Association. 

"In both of those roles, I'm heavily involved in looking at mechanisms of learning and how to best support learning and development," said Sugden. 

Sugden, who lives in Squamish, put her name forward as the deadline grew near and no one had stepped up to the plate in Pemberton.

She has been busy going through last year's school board meeting minutes and talking with parents in preparation for her campaign. 

"One of the things that kept coming up (in the minutes), in different ways, was finding a way to fairly communicate with parents, and to get them involved and engaged with education planning," she said.  

"I don't think there is any area that's a particularly problematic one, but I think there is always room for improvement and innovation." 

Sugden said one of her priorities would be to improve communication and engagement with parents.

She also said that it would be good to look at ways that parents could attend school board meetings electronically.

Over the years, Sugden has volunteered extensively, including for the UBC Aviary Climbing Gym and Le Bon Dieu Dans La Rue (Montreal). 

Sugden will face off against Michelle Butler, a Pemberton mother of two whose children attend Signal Hill Elementary.

"I am an engaged parent who is a community and school volunteer," said Butler, in an email to Pique.

"I understand our local challenges and unique characteristics that might set us apart from other communities in the district. I know many parents, teachers and staff and residents of Pemberton and hope to get to know more of my 'neighbours' through this process."

Butler said that, over the years, she has attended Parent Advisory Council meetings and had many conversations with parents and teachers.

"I'm at the playground, the Community Centre, the skate park, the BMX track. I shop in the local stores, I support small, local businesses," she said.

"My goal as the school trustee, is to work together with the other trustee's as a district, while ultimately being the local voice for Pemberton at the district table ... to ensure Pemberton's unique culture and needs are being met.

"I want our community to feel proud of the schools we offer our children."

General voting day for local elections in Pemberton is Oct. 20. Voting will take place a the Pemberton & District Community Centre (7390 Cottonwood St.) from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

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