Nanaimo school trustees select new chairwoman

NANAIMO – Trustee Dot Neary tasked with leading school board for the upcoming year.

The newly elected Nanaimo school district chairwoman is hoping there is better assessment of math and reading in the district during her term.

Dot Neary, a five-year school trustee, was nominated and acclaimed at a school board meeting last week and while she expressed excitement about the new role, she also said the board and district have a lot of work to do in the coming year.

“We’re developing a district-wide assessment tool for literacy and numeracy,” Neary said. “I think that would be a goal – I don’t know how realistic it is but a goal would be to see those tools implemented across the district. Maybe not at every grade level but as many as possible over the next year or so.”

Neary also said she would like to see continued improvements to aboriginal education, noting that the aboriginal graduation rate increased by six per cent last year.

“That is very gratifying to hear but we still have a long way to go and I would like to see us continue to improve upon that,” she said.

Neary also said these are challenging times and there will be adversity that the school district will face in the next year, not the least of which are budgetary challenges.

“We’ve got lots of budgetary pressures and we are anticipating a $5 million-plus shortfall for the coming budget round so that in and of itself is going to be an enormous challenge,” Neary said.

Neary takes over from Jamie Brennan, who is the new business committee chairman.

Donna Allen was selected as board vice-chairwoman, while Kim Howland was named education committee chairwoman. TerryLynn Saunders was chosen B.C. School Trustees Association provincial councillor representative and Bill Robinson was named as her alternate.

Robinson was also elected as education committee vice-chair.