School trustee candidate: Scott Kimler

Nanaimo-Ladysmith School District 68: Kimler, Scott – school trustee candidate

  • Oct. 24, 2014 10:00 a.m.

Name: Scott Kimler

Age: 55

Occupation/background:

Retired scientist (MS Geophysics); self-taught part-time web developer; eight years as a volunteer firefighter.

I’ve worked in the jungles of Sumatra managing two seismic crews (2,000 crew total), was project manager on a 3-D seismic survey and member of an evaluation team that convinced an oil company to submit a (winning, sealed) bid for an oil field worth $3.65 billion. I retired from the petroleum industry and met my wife while bicycling across the U.S. on a charity ride for the American Lung Association. We honeymooned by backpacking 2,560 miles from Mexico to Canada along the Pacific Crest Trail.

Why are you running for trustee?

I want to provide an equitable, constantly improving learning environment for district students. I want to make a positive impact and set a good example for my 11-year-old daughter. I will strive to fix the deficiencies I’ve observed over the past year and a half, while advocating for better public education.

What three priorities are important to you and how to you plan to tackle these issues, if elected?

Governance – The current board defers to the administrative staff and represents administration, instead of – as the BCSTA guidelines mandate – representing communities and their values. When elected, I will embrace and encourage stakeholder engagement and proper community representation. I will challenge administrators to present alternatives and I will ask tough questions.

Budget – Over the past decade or so, enrolment has declined by 10 per cent, staff and school admin has been cut by 20 per cent, but district administration has grown by a whopping 35 per cent. As trustee, I will champion moves to lower district administrative costs. I will also include stakeholders in the decision-making process, striving to change the ink from red to black, while working to increase services offered in district schools.

Culture shift – The teachers’ job action revealed that public education is under duress, from many directions (enrolment decline, aging facilities, increasing costs and limited provincial funding). Also, the reputation of SD68 among school districts isn’t good. Once elected, I will focus on working with stakeholders to come up with creative and unique solution to help bolster morale, student outcomes and make SD68 the envy of the province. Public education belongs to everyone. We’re in this together and by working together we’ll make it better.

How do you plan to work toward a balanced school district budget?

As identified above, addressing top-heavy district administration and seeking creative budgetary solutions will be one of my priorities.

What do you think it takes to be an education leader in Nanaimo? Describe your leadership or co-working style.

Any leader needs to have a vision, a good grasp of the issues and the courage to act. As a scientist, I possess a keen mind, critical thinking skills, an attention to detail and a practical, common-sense approach to problem-solving. As a firefighter, I am a consummate team player and a consensus-building leader. I demand as much from myself as I do from those around me.

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