SD78 School Board elections: Trustee candidate Q&A
Heather Stewin (current school board trustee)
Q1: What experience do you have that will make you a good trustee for SD78?
My previous experience was as a business owner in Hope for 17 years. This gave me experience with policy, budgets, managing people and serving the public. This past 4 years I have served my community as a trustee. I sat on several committees and attended school district events.
Q2: What are the two most pressing issues facing SD78? How do you plan to address them? (be specific)
Student focus and Educational Outcomes.
Our decisions need student input. Student Trustees and trustee involvement in schools would be beneficial. When making decisions that are student-focused, it’s important to know what the needs are.
There are so many factors that determine educational outcomes. It requires a holistic approach that includes community, family, staff and students. It requires everyone to do their part and it requires adequate support to do so. As a trustee, I can set policy that empowers staff and students to navigate through the changes. I can listen to concerns and success stories and I can help to find solutions when challenges are present.
Q3: How do you plan to listen to parents and students about the issues they care about? (be specific)
Understanding that the school district is a large system with many parts it is important to know who is the best person to handle the issue and to direct them appropriately. I welcome conversations with students and parents.
Q4: The SD78 board has faced a number of controversies over its last term, including a letter to former education minister Mike Bernier stating the board was “severely dysfunctional” and requesting a special advisor to review SD78’s governance, two censures of a trustee – one of which cost the school district $48,000 and allegations from the censured trustee about bullying, a disrespectful workplace and a lack of transparency on the board. Given this, how do you plan to instill trust in and build a healthy workplace culture on the SD78 board?
Leadership, communication and good governance are the keys to a healthy work environment. To explain what happened and the result would take more than 100 words. I apologized for my part in the dysfunction and made efforts to make amends. The last year has been much better. I realized that the only person who had the power to change my experience was me.
Q5: What is your position on the implementation of the SOGI 1 2 3 program in SD78 schools?
I support SOGI 123. Education is what we do. Providing resources that support students, inform and break down discrimination through education is a step forward. No one should be ashamed of who they are, who their parents are or the way they choose to identify.