During election years trustees who have served 20 or more years on a board of education are recognized by the British Columbia School Trustee’s Association with an honorary life membership.

At this year’s AGM, we will be honouring these individuals for their dedicated service to public education. We invite you to learn more about some of our newest life members, and what motivates them as trustees.

Pam Craig – SD70 (Pacific Rim) Board Chair Pam Craig, of SD70 Pacific Rim, is in her 23rd year of trusteeship. Pam was born and raised in Port Alberni and graduated from ADSS. She also attended Simon Fraser University in the Faculty of Education. Pam was elected in early 1991 in a local bi-election for a school trustee vacancy. She continued through to 2002 when a family illness arose, she stepped aside returning in the Election of 2011 until today. Her strong sense of responsibility to work hard to support young people has driven her commitment as a trustee. Pam believes boards of education are the democratic institutions that provide the strong local voice to government to make sure the unique needs of K-12 students have the necessary and complete resources to give their educational experience the best possible opportunity for success.

The unique geographic location of SD70 in the heart of Vancouver Island and the centre of the traditional unceded territory of the Nuu-chah-nulth People has influenced Pam’s desire to make sure students are given the true history of the large diverse SD70 location along with as many opportunities as possible to experience that history and the natural environment of the region. “It is important for trustees to set the conditions that provide the high-quality opportunities for students to understand who they are and what their futures could be,” expressed Pam.

Trusteeship for Pam is about serving the community’s most valuable citizens, K-12 students, through collaboration with education stakeholders and community. She believes boards of education ensure that the needs and hopes of students and local communities are reflected in the Board’s decision-making processes and ethical leadership. Pam’s energy, knowledge and dedication as a trustee has not waivered to provide the best for students.

Margot Swinburnson – SD62 (Sooke) When first elected in 1999, I had no idea what the next years would bring. My main goal is and remains how can I as a trustee create the opportunities for our students to succeed? That has driven my focus through all the ups and downs of the past years. From enhancing opportunities for students to get into trades programs, supporting advanced placement, dual credit, academies, Indigenous support and success and finally advocating for mental health initiatives- that’s why I became a trustee. I am really proud of the boards I have served with as we slowly and steadily built capacity in our district to implement these programs. I truly appreciate all the trustees I have served with and the staff I have worked with. I have been lucky to have learned from so many of the trustees province-wide, and grateful to have made great friends on the way.

Allan Wong – SD39 (Vancouver) Like most trustees I sought a seat at the school board table in order to support our students by providing a public education system that ensures they grow (emotionally, physically, socially and academically). Before the turn of the century, I started talking to others about public education as it related to the need for more speech and language pathologists (SLP) to support primary students. The system knew how to help kids, we just needed political will. That’s what I thought.

Over the terms there were varying areas of importance that I focused my energy: (1) Lobbied with parent groups to create the Seismic Mitigation Program; (2) Priority from multiculturalism to addressing anti-racism; (3) First ever School District Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI); (4) Advocate for proper funding of public education; (5) Working in parallel with stakeholder organizations; (6) Safe educational facilities maintained; and to (7) Ensure every student feel that they belong in their school.

I am merely one of nine trustees on a board that believes in doing what is best for our students. Politically, we may be different but I can say that we generally worked together to move forward our collective agenda. Aside from the political posturing we could sit down together and share a peaceful meal. This also extended to my fellow trustees within the BCSTA across this beautiful province.

I also reflect on the many superintendents, secretary-treasurers and staff that worked with the boards to ensure that crucial and delicate environments are created and maintained for our children.

Everyone in the education system needs to be thanked for all the sweat and tears put into their passion. They are truly the front line heroes (not just during the COVID Pandemic). That is what motivates me to be part of doing good for PUBLIC EDUCATION.