Susan Chew and Lance Gotzy are campaigning for the vacant position of School District 8’s trustee for Salmo, Taghum and Blewett. School district positions are included on the ballot for the Oct. 20 municipal elections.
Susan Chew has lived in Salmo since 1996 and has two children who progressed through the school system there, and then to higher education.
She has been a director, president and vice-president of the Salmo Valley Youth and Community Centre over many years and has served as president of the Salmo Elementary parent advisory committee. Her employment has included working as a financial analyst for the B.C. Ministry of Advanced Education.
“I am running because I believe in public education,” Chew said. “It is the most critical thing I could put my time and effort into: a robust and well-resourced and evolving public education system.”
She said one of the biggest issues is aging infrastructure and she supports the SD8 facilities plan that would see Salmo Elementary School closed.
“Speaking as a parent who was involved in the consultation process, I would say I am in complete support of a K-12 system in Salmo that is based out of a joint-shared space.”
Chew also wants to “ensure what is happening in the classroom is the best we can deliver. That that will depend on how well we are listening to our educators and our communities. The ability for the system to evolve and grow and continue to be relevant, and be curious about other kinds of learning models, is critical,” she said.
Lance Gotzy has lived in Bonnington for 14 years, and has two children currently in School District 8.
He is the manager of the West Kootenay Community Corrections office, as well as a probation officer, which he has worked as for 16 years. Gotzy is also a former chair and board director of the Kootenay Kids Society.
“I’ve got a vested interest,” said Gotzy. “My kids are in the school system and I want to see that move forward. I’ve always been in touch with the whole education system. My sister’s a teacher, my dad was a teacher [and] a principal. I’ve been involved in it a little bit all my life.”
Gotzy supports the SD8 facilities plan to close Salmo Elementary School and consolidate it within Salmo Secondary.
He also supprots the province’s addition of sexual orientation gender inclusion education in the new curriculum. Gotzy said he wants to help bring SOGI 123, the Ministry of Education’s resource for educators, into SD8 by setting up workshops.
“I know that SOGI is already being implemented here, but I understand also that teachers come in without being really prepared to implement it. They’re not being taught it, they are being shown it once they get into the school districts. … I think that’s something we can look at.”