High turnover on the school board has a longtime Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools trustee reconsidering retirement.
Bill Robinson, a three-term School District 68 board member, thought this would be his last term, but the departure of a number of trustees – Stephanie Higginson, Jessica Stanley, Chantel O’Neill and Elaine Wilkinson – gave him pause.
“This past board has achieved an amazing amount of work and I just wanted to be there to support the continuation of that growth,” said Robinson. “Hopefully the five incumbents will be elected again, and be there to support, encourage, nourish the new trustees,” said Robinson.
He also hopes to continue running a program intended to build student self-esteem.
“Five years ago, I developed a little program called ‘The Best Me I Can Be,’” said Robinson. “Initially I was thinking of kindergarten, Grade 1. There’s a certificate involved and a presentation of this certificate, and teachers get to write three or four times that the student has been the best they could be. So I was hoping for new students in kindergarten, Grade 1, to help build self-esteem, self-confidence … it’s been used by teachers up to Grade 6, so I want to keep doing that.”
With at least four new trustees coming onboard, Robinson said he has the experience and temperament to keep things civil.
“Well, that’s one of my strengths. I can get along with pretty much everyone,” he said.” So I think if there were problems, and I’m not counting on it, but … if I am elected, and on the board, I think I could play a major role in patching those differences and bringing people together. My strength is with people, kids, educators, not the strongest on policy, procedure or budgets, honestly.”
Robinson is confident current trustees, if re-elected, will support new trustees and keep the district on course, pointing to the 89 per cent overall and 80 per cent Aboriginal graduation rates for 2020-21, the best ever.
“We did it through a pandemic and that says the [SD68] team, over the last four years, has grown from top to the bottom because everyone along the way, teachers especially, but custodians, certainly EAs partnering with teachers, school secretaries, bus drivers, everyone pulled together to get that result … I want to continue to be part of that growth and I look forward to it,” Robinson said.
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