Stephanie Higginson, Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools trustee, has been acclaimed as president of the B.C. School Trustees Association. (News Bulletin file)

Nanaimo school trustee named president of B.C. School Trustees Association

Stephanie Higginson, BCSTA vice-president, acclaimed at AGM this week

A Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools trustee has been named president of the B.C. School Trustees Association.

Stephanie Higginson, previously BCSTA vice-president, was acclaimed as president Thursday night at the association’s annual general meeting. The BCSTA advocates for school boards in B.C.

Higginson said she was expecting an election and the acclamation shows the BCSTA collective is confident in her leadership. She said she will continue on with her duties as a trustee in addition to her duties as president.

“The jobs are not mutually exclusive,” said Higginson. “They actually blend together very, very well, so the information that I learn and gain as the president, and have as the vice-president, is always really valuable to my role as a trustee locally and always is very valuable information for me to have at the board table to help inform my decisions and also the decisions of the whole board.”

Work is being done to modernize the way education is funded, something Higginson lists as one of her priorities.

“I think the most important and pressing issue that we’re facing right now is the funding model review that’s happening and that’s to modernize and update our funding model in a way that is more stable and equitable across the province, but also it’s an opportunity for us to ensure that we have adequate funding in the system,” said Higginson. “Using that funding model as an opportunity to ensure that we have an efficient and effective funding model that meets the needs of the students we’re serving, but also through that process, ensuring that we have enough money in the system to meet those needs.”

B.C. teachers are in the midst of bargaining with the provincial government on a new collective agreement, and while the association won’t have a direct hand in the negotiations – those responsibilities fall to the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association – Higginson said their work deeply impacts each other.

“We try to support each other and the way that happens is we deal in the policy. What policies will improve student achievement? What supports are missing in the system?” she asked. “BCPSEA’s job is to hear those and see those policies and then bargain the proper contracts to make those policies possible.”

Higginson said her previous experience with the association will be beneficial.

“I can’t come with just my Nanaimo lens on … I have to come to this role understanding the needs of the whole province and so the four years that I’ve been serving have allowed me to travel all over the province and get to know school trustees and the needs of students and boards across this very diverse and interesting province that we have,” said Higginson.

Higginson will officially become president Saturday at noon, replacing Gordon Swan, who will remain as past-president and director.



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