Nanaimo teachers elect new president

Justin Green was elected the union's new president at the group's annual general meeting Tuesday, attended by about 200 teachers.

Nanaimo teachers have a new leader.

Justin Green, currently first vice-president of the Nanaimo District Teachers’ Association, was elected the union’s new president at the group’s annual general meeting Tuesday, attended by about 200 teachers.

He will take over at the end of the school year.

Green competed against Dan Companion, a Dover Bay Secondary School teacher, for the position – the first time since 2007 more than one name was put forward for president.

“It’s an incredible honour to be in that place, that [the membership] would show confidence in me to assume that role,” said Green.

He said working closely with outgoing president Derek DeGear over the past year helped him feel prepared to take on the job.

“It allows me to be pretty confident moving forward,” said Green. “It’s not anything that’s going to be a huge surprise.”

He plans to continue building solidarity amongst teachers and maintaining the approach that the union has taken thus far.

Teachers also decided to go with familiar faces for both the first and second vice-president positions – Mike Ball and Virginia Burns, both currently serving on the executive in different roles, were elected into these positions.

Ball had competition from Companion, who put his name in the hat for first vice-president after losing his leadership bid, and Burns had competition from both Companion and Marcy Boudreau.

The president and first vice-president positions are the only full-time positions on the NDTA executive.

Outgoing president Derek DeGear said it was good to see competition for the top three positions, especially since bargaining and job action issues could persist.

“We’re going to need that energy in leadership because the battle isn’t over yet,” he said, adding that the three new leaders have past experience on the executive and Ball was elected to the B.C. Teachers’ Federation executive this year as well.

“I know the organization is in really good hands as we move forward,” said DeGear.

DeGear and Kip Wood, former second vice-president, will remain on the executive as members-at-large.

“Just because we’re not doing that office role doesn’t mean we’re going to take our hats off as activists,” said DeGear.

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