Rebuilding relationships key for school trustees

NANAIMO – Seven new trustees take their seats at Nanaimo school board table.

Re-building relationships is one of the challenges facing the newly sworn in Nanaimo school district board of trustees, according to Steve Rae.

Rae was chosen as the new board chairman at the school district inaugural meeting on Monday and he said trustees are looking to establish themselves as a board and get up to speed with all the district happenings.

“I think the first thing that we want to do is re-establish the relationships with our stakeholders,” said Rae. “We feel that, going forward, that is the most important thing because this district is facing some difficult times in the next four years. We have some difficult decisions to make, so the first thing we’re going to do is reach out to all our stakeholders and establish relationships going forward.”

Bill Robinson and Jamie Brennan are the only two among a nine-trustee board who were re-elected. In addition to experience, Brennan said both will bring knowledge of the district and experience in making hard decisions.

“Just being able to withstand some of the pressures that come to bear upon trustees when they work with staff to bring change to the system and people resist change and there’s an awful lot of that in this district,” said Brennan.

“It’s been a district that has been resistant to change for some time, which is unfortunate.”

Trustee Stephanie Higginson was elected vice-chairwoman of the board and chairwoman of the education committee.

Natasha Bob was chosen as vice-chairwoman of the education committee while Scott Kimler and Jeff Solomon were selected as chairman and vice-chairman of the business committee respectively.

Tania Brzovic will be the B.C. School Trustees Association provincial councillor representative while Robinson will serve as her alternate.