With the election behind us, it is now time to shift focus back toward the work we have been elected to do. Your board of directors returns in full, and we look forward to continuing our work as your advocates and representatives to government, our partner organizations and the public while providing you with the support, learning opportunities and tools you require to maximize your potential as both individuals and boards of education.

I wish to thank everyone who ran and made themselves available for consideration by the public. This is democracy at work, and while it goes without saying that not everyone who feels they are best for the position is able to continue their work in this area, we must all respect and appreciate that collectively we represent the views, values and goals of our constituents. We have been asked to represent their interests, and we must do this with diligence, respect and hard work.

As we exit the election, we find that British Columbia’s boards of education are now comprised of approximately 46% newly elected members. This is a substantial number, and I call on the 54% of you who are returning to your posts to act as mentors to the newly elected. This is a grand opportunity for both new and veteran trustees to benefit from, and I ask that those who are returning nurture new views and ideas while sharing past experiences. By comparing established standards to fresh perspectives, we will grow together.

To those who find themselves forging into previously uncharted territory, I encourage you to be active learners and participants. Absorb the experience that surrounds you on your board, make use of BCSTA’s resources, such as our online Learning Guide on the HUB, and be courageous in making your voice heard. By melding our collective experiences and views, we will be doing right by the public who have entrusted us with the responsibility of governance in public education and the care of their children. This is important work with long-lasting effects that far surpass a four-year term. Keep this in mind in all your work.

We start things quickly this fall with our Trustee Academy in late November, followed by the joint BCSTA/BCPSEA Trustee Orientation in 2019. Our 2018 Academy is quickly coming together, and BCSTA staff have been hard at work preparing for this invaluable event for trustees. The guiding theme for this year’s event, as developed by our Professional Learning Committee, is “elected, engaged and empowered” and our content has been curated accordingly with a focus on developing new boards and preparing them for the challenges ahead. I sincerely look forward to learning with you side-by-side and encourage newly elected trustees to check in with your executive assistants as soon as possible regarding your registration status to ensure you do not miss out on this important gathering.

I would like to close this statement by once again sharing my genuine appreciation for those who participated in the democratic process this October. I would also like to specifically thank those who have served and chose not the run in this election. Your past efforts form the foundation for new trustees to build on, and your work is a part of our greater, collective legacy. BCSTA’s rich history, spanning over 100 years, is ours together, and I would like to thank everyone who has influenced that legacy for answering the call. Every term, every trustee and every board decision makes a difference, and I look forward to making more history with you over the next four years.

Gordon Swan, President, BC School Trustees Association