Tom Rokeby, a former Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools drama teacher, seeks a place at the school board table. (Submitted photo)

Tom Rokeby, a former Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools drama teacher, seeks a place at the school board table. (Submitted photo)

Teacher-turned-trustee candidate thinks Nanaimo school district needs ‘tear down from the top’

Tom Rokeby running for election to Nanaimo-Ladysmith school board

A former teacher thinks a new lesson plan is in order for Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools and hopes to make change as a trustee.

Tom Rokeby, who taught drama at John Barsby Secondary School for 20 years, is now seeking a seat at the school board table. He said there needs to be a fundamental change in how School District 68 operates, a tear down from the top.

Rokeby worries about staffing, as he said there were more than 1,000 failures to fill last year, or days when teachers and teachers on-call weren’t in classes where they were needed. SD68 has “a very heavy management proportion of its budget” relative to its size, number of schools and student enrolment, according to Rokeby, something he said needs to be reversed. The district must ensure it places skilled people in front of children, he said.

“When we create administrational systems in public education, we’re not just diverting resources in terms of dollars, but we’re also diverting resources in terms of licensed teachers, because all of those administrators will be people that at one point, were best trained and best qualified to be teaching our kids and delivering curriculum, but now we’ve put them in offices. I don’t think we’re going to find that we have the human resource capacity to do that at all anymore,” he said.

In terms of reconciliation policy, Rokeby said the district isn’t talking about work on the ground and in the community, but an executive framework.

“It doesn’t get the work done,” he said. “We need to retool our thinking and our resource allocation to the student, to the family, at what I want to call this parent-student-teacher intersection. If we want to get to something that looks like personalized learning, we do it by empowering that point, where mother or father, student and teacher, [education assistant] come together and work on evidence that they’ve gathered together to the betterment of the child.”

A number of incumbent trustees are not running again and Rokeby said he is curious about how the new board might look.

“I’m really interested having met some of the other candidates, incumbents and non-incumbents,” he said. “I’m really excited about what we could do as a team for the district.”

Anyone running for mayor or councillor in the City of Nanaimo or the District of Lantzville, regional director in the Regional District of Nanaimo’s Area A, B, C or E, or school trustee in School District 68 is asked to contact the Nanaimo News Bulletin to set up an interview or invite us to a campaign launch event. Phone Greg Sakaki at 250-734-4621 or e-mail editor@nanaimobulletin.com.



reporter@nanaimobulletin.com

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