Name: Sharon Welch
I hold an MA (Leadership) Degree and CHRP (human resources) and GCDF (career development) certifications, with undergraduate studies in Business Administration/Commerce. I won the Governor General’s medal at university for the highest GPA in the institution.
As a registered music teacher, I enjoyed teaching music and being the education director of a music school with more than 20 teachers and 800 students for approximately 20 years.
Since moving to Nanaimo, I have worked at the Community Policing office, in the Work B.C. employment program, and currently as the executive director of Forward House, an organization that offers day programs for clients with mental health and addictions issues. I have served on two non-profit boards, been Toastmasters’ area governor, chaired community committees and participated in the chamber of commerce and Rotary.
My six years as a school trustee has included the roles of chairwoman, vice-chairwoman, DPAC liaison, Nanaimo-Ladysmith Schools Foundation liaison, Anti-Vandalism Committee chairwoman, and active participant in other committees. The Anti-Vandalism Committee’s initiatives have been responsible for helping the district reduce annual vandalism costs from $150,000 to $37,000 in four years. These initiatives promote positive student engagement that is based on school pride and social responsibility.
Why are you running for school trustee?
I believe in our students, and I want to continue the work I have started in this school district. I am committed to the work we have done with our strategic plan and want to see it continue moving forward, with adjustments as necessary.
What three priorities are important to you and how do you plan to tackle these issues, if elected?
First, I believe that collaboration is of fundamental importance within SD68 and with external stakeholders. We can achieve so much more together than we can by operating in silos. I hope to continue chairing the Anti-Vandalism Committee, working closely with the District Parent Advisory Committee in a community-wide anti-bullying campaign, and supporting the work of the Nanaimo-Ladysmith Schools Foundation.
Second, we always need to be looking for potential administrative efficiencies, while providing an adequate level of support for our front-line staff.
Third, I will continue to strongly support arts-based programs, sports and trades programs, as these programs can lead to greater student engagement and graduation rates
How do you plan to work toward a balanced school district budget?
Staff representatives hold several meetings with our partner groups to consult with them on the upcoming budget. These groups also give feedback as members on our Business Committee. Further, all of our community members have the opportunity to present their concerns and suggestions to the board at a public meeting. Board members should come to the table with open minds and careful preparation to debate staff’s recommendations, ask questions, contribute ideas and ultimately approve the finalized balanced budget.
What do you think it takes to be an education leader in Nanaimo? Describe your leadership or co-working style.
I believe that school trustees must be prepared to make tough decisions after reviewing relevant data, considering options and consulting with the appropriate stakeholders. I have visited all of our district’s schools to ensure that I understand the needs of our support staff, teachers and administrators. My leadership style is definitely collaborative and based on a life-long learning approach.