Meet Winnie Morven-Hansen, board chair at the Nisga’a school district.

Tell us about yourself and your experiences in education before you became a trustee.
I’ve always wanted to teach. I used to pretend as a child that I was a teacher. After graduation, I started in NITEP, the Indigenous Teacher Education Program at The Faculty of Education at UBC. I quit to start a family and when my children entered school full-time I went back to school and entered early childhood education. I loved it and stayed in the workforce for over 30 years. I moved back home and worked at our school in many capacities, including as a letter of permission grade 4 teacher.

What made you decide that you wanted to run for trustee in Nisga’a?
I wanted to make a difference, so I ran for trustee and became chair. I saw the inequities of services in our school district as opposed to the majority of other districts. I’m very passionate about education and the difference it makes for our people.

What are some of the unique challenges and needs associated with education in a rural and remote district?
Absolutely we have challenges: easy access to services, lack of certified teachers, lack of education for support staff and, most importantly, lack of worldly experiences for students.

Can you share a personal motto or philosophy that guides your approach to serving as a trustee and supporting the education of students in Nisga’a?
I believe we can “DO BETTER.”

Can you share a memorable moment or highlight from your time as a trustee?
One instance was when our Nisga’a language and culture became mandatory up to Grade 10 with encouragement to continue in grades 11 and 12. Band is now also being taught in high school. Both subjects are dear to the hearts of our people.

Looking forward, what are your aspirations or goals for serving as a trustee in Nisga’a?
My aspirations are to continue to advocate for our school district, ensure that we have more equitable resources and find teachers who want to stay so our students have more stability. I look forward to continuing the communications we now have with other entities in our valley which will benefit all parties involved, especially our students and teachers.