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Nanaimo school trustee candidate wants to advocate for students with diverse abilities

Mark Robinson has experience with Randerson Ridge and district parent advisory councils
Mark Robinson has experience with Randerson Ridge and district parent advisory councils. (Submitted photo)

A community support worker with experience serving as a PAC president is running to be a school trustee for Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools.

Mark Robinson, who has two daughters attending schools in SD68, has seven years’ experience with both Randerson Ridge parent advisory council and the district parent advisory council. As a community support worker with the Nanaimo Association for Community Living, supporting people with diverse abilities, Robinson thinks the district can improve in that area and said better conditions for educational assistants is key.

There are a lot of part-time EAs who float from school to school, according to Robinson, making it hard for assistant and student to form a bond. One of the ideas that’s been floating around, which he supports, is finding a way to offer EAs full-time careers so that they’re in the schools a lot longer.

“It attracts more talent, it attracts more individuals to move to our community to go into the field of education assistant,” said Robinson. “The idea to get that would be after-school care … [it] is pretty much a win-win. Students win by having a safe environment when school’s over, free of tablets, negative influences. Parents win by being able to maintain their careers, knowing where their kids are.”

The economy benefits, he said, because there would be more people working, and the school district wins by attracting and retaining staff. Supporting the students who have diverse and unique abilities and building the relationship with full-time EAs would serve them tremendously, he said.

His day job gives him a unique perspective on advocating for students with diverse abilities, he said.

“Working with individuals throughout the spectrum, with diverse abilities, has really given me the experience and understanding of what individuals require on a daily basis,” said Robinson. “And it’s not only educational, it’s also building relationships with the people that are supporting you … individuals that are with you most of the day. They can open up, you can open up with them, they can open up with you, you can find what their needs are, their wants are and their goals because outcomes and goals are what we’re looking for in the district.”

Another issue the district must deal with is classroom capacity, he said, as Island communities are leading the province in growth and education infrastructure investment is needed in all areas of Nanaimo-Ladysmith.

Anyone running for mayor or councillor in the City of Nanaimo or the District of Lantzville, regional director in the Regional District of Nanaimo’s Area A, B, C or E, or school trustee in School District 68 is asked to contact the Nanaimo News Bulletin to set up an interview or invite us to a campaign launch event. Phone Greg Sakaki at 250-734-4621 or e-mail

ELECTION 2022: Candidates in Nanaimo, Lantzville, RDN and SD68

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Karl Yu

About the Author: Karl Yu

After interning at Vancouver Metro free daily newspaper, I joined Black Press in 2010.
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