The president of the District Parent Advisory Council the past four years has her sights set on joining the school board table.
Leanne Lee, 43, is one of 12 candidates vying for nine school trustee positions in Nanaimo-Ladysmith.
Lee has volunteered in the district for more than 10 years and was on the McGirr Elementary School PAC that helped secure the accessible playground there. She realized that working on the DPAC could give her the chance to be heard and make a difference for students district-wide, rather than primarily fundraising for one school.
The DPAC, she said, gets a seat on the school district’s committees and an “inside look” that can then be communicated to all the PACs around Nanaimo-Ladysmith.
“I’ve had the ability to be able to sit on so many internal committees and have a good look at the inner workings of how the school district works, and I wanted to have more of an impact than sitting around the table having conversations,” Lee said. “I wanted to make what I consider a larger difference and impact for students in the district.”
She said if elected, she would base her decisions around maximizing student success and determining what that would look like. She’s intersted in exploring further options for mental health and wellness supports for students and staff who have struggled through the pandemic, and she hopes to see replacement of Nanaimo District Secondary School and catchment review in other parts of the district. Lee would also like to see better recognition of the level of poverty in Nanaimo-Ladysmith and suggests that should underline the need for food programs.
“That piece also comes with education around food security for all students, which then comes with teaching our kids about compassion, kindness, empathy, acceptance, which is only going to make the world a better place,” she said.
Lee said campaigning is a little bit outside her comfort zone and therefore challenging, but said at the same time, talking to people and hearing different perspectives is always rewarding. For example, it’s interesting, she said, talking to young people who can offer insight into the supports and resources they might have liked to have had during their schooling.
School trustee elections tend to see low voter turnout but Lee said participating in the process is critical, and it doesn’t take much effort to do a little bit of research about the candidates.
“We’re deciding on how to spend dollars educating children, the future of the world…” she said. “We need to be making sure that while we’re at that voting station that we’re making all efforts to vote for someone that’s going to move education in the right direction.”