Boards of education are an important part of municipal governance, but often overlooked. As part of the Mountaineer’s coverage of the upcoming municipal election we’ve asked trustee candidates for the Revelstoke School District 19 Board of Education to share how they can help enhance education in our community.
According to the British Columbia School Trustees Association trustees “engage their communities in building and maintaining a school system that reflects local priorities, values and expectations.”
We asked each of the candidates to answer three questions about their qualifications, key issues, and what they’d like to achieve as a trustee. Here are the responses from candidate Sarah Zimmer:
What are your qualifications for the position?
I am a journeyperson electrician and have an undergraduate degree in Anthropology. In 2002-2003 I worked for an educational NGO in western Kenya as both a program administrator and educator. As an electrician, I worked on numerous construction projects including Canadian Naval vessels, commercial and industrial installations and at both the Revelstoke and Mica dams. As such, I have worked within many complex employment structures, on both time/cost and quality sensitive projects. My experience with structured decision making and accountability stretches from the theoretical to the practical. The role of a school board trustee is to find a balance in which both advocacy and stewardship play a constructive part. This means working to ensure that all of our students have the best possible resources while making fundamental decisions that fall within budgetary constraints. I have the ability to employ critical thinking in order to assess and execute constructive decisions. On a personal level, my love of research, my desire to understand the root causes of situations and to seek out viable, equitable solutions to issues will ensure that I approach this trustee position with notions of collaboration, transparency and positive growth.
As a trustee, what key issues would you like to advance?
We are raising global citizens. Issues surrounding the environment, student mental and social health, education about the Indigenous experience, and academic excellence are currently and should continue to be explored and addressed. I believe that the best thing we can do for our children is to offer them as many diverse experiences as possible, while making sure that they and our educators feel secure and fully supported. We are very fortunate to live in a community that is so rich in sport, the arts and culture, and technological innovation. Our schools are uniquely positioned to take advantage of all these exciting areas to enrich the learning opportunities and experiences for our students. I wish to see that trend continue and expand. Furthermore, I plan to look for ways in which we can to blend together strategic planning and school district goals with our economic realities. I believe it is important for a trustee to welcome new ideas while keeping in mind the visions, goals and econimic realities that serve as the foundations for our district operation. I look forward to seeing the positive directions in which our school district will continue to evolve.
What would you like to achieve as a trustee?
As a trustee, I will approach my role with a keen sense of responsibility and a commitment to ensuring that our public education continues to be inclusive, inspiring and accessible. I hope to achieve, what I believe we all want — a thriving and productive school district that operates effectively within its fiscal boundaries. These may seem like broad or abstract goals; however, I believe that an overall direction or cohesive vision must precede smaller, more concrete and immediate decisions. One of my strengths is that I thoroughly enjoy research and investigating the history of any issue. As such, I am very hesitant to make any decision before I have fully explored all aspects of an issue. Therefore, I will strive to achieve a nuanced understanding of all factors that inform the decisions that we as a school board will make. Furthermore, I hope to create and maintain important collaborative relationships with all groups and individuals who have an interest in the successful functioning of our schools.