Newly elected School District 47 trustees participated in an oath of office ceremony at the Board of Education offices on Tuesday, November 6.
The event welcomed three new members to the board: Dale Lawson, Jack Timothy and Russell Brewer, along with incumbents Aaron Reid and Doug Skinner. It was also an opportunity to honour retiring board members Jeanette Scott, who served for 19 years, and Mary James, who served for 13. The two were honoured with a blanket ceremony performed by Dr. Elsie Paul from Tla’amin Nation.
“Knowing the respect that you have for the Tla’amin Nation and for Dr. Elsie Paul, we’re very honoured that she will be able to help us with a blanket ceremony today to thank you for your many years of service and mentorship,” said Reid.
A social followed and new board members expressed their hope for collaboration among members and the desire to get down to work.
“I’m really looking forward to being part of a cohesive team,” said Lawson. “I’m excited about helping to create a strategic plan and then being able to apply my skills and expertise to whatever is needed.”
Brewer said having Skinner and Reid’s experience along with the new board’s diversity creates a good balance.
“I love the makeup of our board,” added Brewer. “We have a Tla’amin rep, I’m a Métis rep, and we have the great experience of the incumbents who have been there for 10 years, which is so important for continuity.”
Timothy said he believed his combined experience as an artist and cultural presenter, as well as his experience in residential schools, will bring much-needed perspective and representation to the board.
“It’s a learning process for everybody with the new curriculum being put in,” said Timothy. “I can’t make a teacher or anybody else indigenous for a day, but if you listen to me I’ll listen to you.”