After serving 20 years as executive director and coordinator of the Roberts Creek Community School Society, Stacia Leech is ready to take on a new challenge – running for trustee at School District No. 46 (SD46).
With a background in affordable housing advocacy and as former chair of the Roberts Creek Official Community Plan review committee, Leech said she had seriously considered running for Sunshine Coast Regional District (SCRD) director for Roberts Creek, but chose to run as a trustee in part because of her professional background.
“This feels like a natural step for me after retiring from the Community School and taking a year to think about what’s next … with the time I have now, the skills and my experience,” Leech said. “I would like to work on the future and for me education is the best fit.”
Leech also served as director of the Health Canada-funded Mind the Gap project, which according to her release, involved delivering and evaluating “social emotional interventions in the student, teacher and parent community.”
Based on that experience, Leech aims to incorporate more of an emphasis on social and emotional learning in the school district’s strategic plan if elected. The plan is up for renewal in 2019 and will be a major priority for the new board.
Leech also wants to include what she calls environmental literacy into the strategic plan. “The plan is actually behind where the schools are at,” she said. Individual schools are already incorporating lessons and programs about the environment, such as student participation in the greenhouse at Davis Bay Elementary and the Roberts Creek School/Community Garden, but “each individual school is struggling on its own,” Leech said. “I think if we had a regional approach with the district about environmental literacy, it would really help everybody and it would be a better use of the resources.”
Aside from the plan update, another major task in front of the new board will be labour union negotiations, something Leech said needs to be approached with a view to individual employees. “When we’re around the table in those negotiations, we need to focus on this as a group of individuals, and what is important about their well-being rather than thinking of them as a unionized group,” she said.
SD46 will be facing significant trustee turnover: four of the district’s seven trustees have confirmed they will not be seeking re-election, including current school board chair Lori Pratt. Leech said the new trustees should focus on collaboration. “There has been contention in the past where there has been less of a team approach,” she said, adding that if elected she would follow outgoing trustee Betty Baxter’s approach to communication at the board level to “encourage authentic communication so that resentments don’t build.”
Trustee electoral area boundaries were redrawn earlier this year. Three trustees will represent the newly formed Trustee Electoral Area 3 or Lower Coast, which includes the Town of Gibsons and SCRD areas D, E and F.
The nomination period for school trustees ends Friday, Sept. 14 at 4 p.m. Voting day is Oct. 20.