View official candidate video

Video Source: City of Surrey

Below read her answers to OUR questions

1. What is your key, or main, motivation to run for a school trustee position?

To ensure that there’s the voice of an educator on the board. Because for many years the teaching perspective has been missing. Teachers are the people who really know what is needed in our schools.

2. How do you see the role of the school trustees in addressing the issues with space, overcrowded classrooms, and new school construction in this rapidly growing district?

Trustees need to collaborate with all levels of government to ensure that when we build schools or when we develop an area there’s enough infrastructure. That includes schools. They need to ensure that the funding is there. Right now we’re using operating funds for portables. We should not have to use our operating funds.. The money for portables should be provided by the ministry.

3. Currently, Surrey is short of classroom teachers and teachers teaching on call. What ideas do you have for recruitment and retention?

We need to ensure that the province supports the universities so that we have more teachers trained. We want qualified teachers but we want to expedite the process, but from my experience and what I’ve heard is that it takes too long for the machine to move. We also need to have salaries that are not competitive, each teacher remuneration [should be] the same. [Districts] shouldn’t have to compete for teachers. It’s harder to move whole families, perhaps housing bonus or transportation could be included.

4. Surrey Schools are still short of Learning Support Teachers. How will you advocate fully implementing the language in the collective agreement so that Surrey students will have enough specialist teachers to meet their learning needs?

I would, first of all, look at the budget part, because there have been mixed messages about the availability of money. As far as the ministry is concerned there’s enough money there to meet our needs. As far as the board, Learning support and special education are always the ones who don’t get support they need. The example of last years 66 cuts, and finding out that no they were wrong and we waited a whole year to get back what was cut. [We need to] ensure that decisions are not always [avoided]; tough decisions [need to be] made at the board level and not continuously being sent to arbitration. Having been a LST teacher, I know that the funding was targeted and since 2002 those children have had less support than what they need. I feel that many of the students (severely disabled/ELL) are not getting the programs they need in order to learn. If it isn’t working well, we need to revamp it.

5. In bargaining for a new contract, what actions will you take to ensure that BCPSEA and the Provincial government will reach a fairly negotiated contract with teachers?

I think that trustees need to stand up for teachers. Teachers are what drives excellence in public education, They need to take a collaborative role with the unions, not an adversarial role. As a body of school trustees across the prov we need to ensure that BCPSEA is there to represent both the provincial government, school board & teachers. For too many years we’ve had difficulties.

6. What is the best way for the Board to hear from and respond to concerns from parents, employees and other community members?

As a trustee, what I would like to see is, more collaboration in the form of committees. Especially the committee that meets the union & school board. That needs to happen more often. Not only when there are grievances but on an ongoing basis. [The same goes for] parents and the public, [as there is] still a sense schools are not welcoming places, especially with certain cultural groups. So we need to have our schools do more, involve the community more, and the same with the students, involve students in the community, help them to be part of the community.

7. How can the Board support the recommendations and calls to action of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission?

More and more we realize that our aboriginal history is important and it’s part of our fabric of being Canadian. Lot of truths that have been uncovered. But the work for this can’t all be put on the shoulders of teachers, we need the board to ensure that teachers have resources to implement the new curriculum as well as the expertise.

8. As school trustee, how will you use your role to support the sexual orientation, gender expression, and gender identity development of Surrey students?

I would like to see more info on the SOGI 123 program so that there are no misconceptions about what the program does and, at the same time, trustees need to work with teachers to make sure that teachers as well are trained and are comfortable with the resources they are provided. SOGI is a program written by teachers, is educationally sound, and supported by the ministry. It’s not a debate. It’s there to help all children get along and respect one another.

9. As school trustee how will you actively advocate for a better funded public education system? What do you see as the difference between a needs-based budget, and a balanced budget?

For too long trustees have sat back and felt their hands were tied. The meetings that take place provincially only happen or seem to happen during election years. We have a government that is willing to listen, and so even if it means going over to Victoria on a monthly basis, and discussing over and over the issue, it’s important to do so to ensure the funding is there.

There are boards that have prepared two budgets; needs based and actual. If all boards did that, it would help gov’t understand what it takes to properly fund quality education.

We know that we are $1200 less per pupil in the way funding is received in BC compared to other provinces. So that needs to change.

10. How can trustees ensure that the leadership in Surrey schools reflects the diversity of Surrey’s communities?

We need to make sure that all communities are welcome and represented in our curriculum. We need to learn from each other. We need to have cultural activities and invite people in.