Teacher Magazine Sept/Oct 2018

Page 18

From conference to candidate

Across BC, participants from the BCTF’s public education conferences are running for office By Rich Overgaard, BCTF staff iStock.com/wildpixel

For the last two years, the BCTF has hosted Advocacy Works—a conference that brings parents and teachers together from all over the province to network with each other, learn about the challenges facing public education, and gain skills to advocate effectively. SEVERAL OF these parents are putting their new skills and knowledge to good use by running for office in the upcoming municipal election. “It’s exciting to see these folks go from concerned parent, to outspoken advocate, to political candidate,” said BCTF President Glen Hansman. “Our goal with the public education conferences has always been to give parents the information and skills they need to advocate for our students, schools, and communities. It’s great to see that these conferences inspire people.” With the municipal election set for October 20, 2018, we asked each of these Advocacy Works participants to describe their key takeaway from the conference, why they decided to run, and what has been the best part about campaigning so far.

I am running because I see gaps at the district level that need addressing. Surrey has overcrowding issues that will not go away without effective communication channels and growth plans. As a communications professional, I know that communication is key to good governance. As a long-standing advocate, I have established relationships with all levels of government, families, educators, and support staff. It’s time to listen to the true stakeholders to ensure all students get what they need. Working together with like-minded candidates, Charlene Dobie and Mary-Em Waddington (Surrey Students NOW) helps keep us focused and grounded. We bring different experiences to the table and we collaborate and learn from each other. The best part of campaigning is being out in the community and engaging with many people across the district. After all, they are the reason we want to be elected—to work for them!

SUZANNE PERREAULT, school trustee candidate in Langley

Cindy Dalglish, on left.

CINDY DALGLISH, school trustee candidate in Surrey

The key takeaway from the Advocacy Works conference was hearing educators share about inclusion and diversity. They spoke about how the lack of supports leaves them vulnerable in their profession, and how it impacts classrooms.

The Advocacy Works conference really reinforced the importance of getting involved and speaking up. The support from educators propelled me to seek a school trustee position in Surrey. It’s not just our students that need quality support. If educators aren’t supported, how can we expect them to support our students? 18  TEACHER  September 2018

I would like to raise the standards and conversation in student safety, emergency preparedness, inclusion, and diversity. My most enjoyable experiences campaigning involve meeting with community members and partner groups, and hearing about our children’s educational needs. Relationship building at its best!

Kelly Greene, in red.

KELLY GREENE, city council candidate in Richmond At Advocacy Works, I learned we are stronger together. Not only can we directly work together, but we can also amplify each other’s messages, which leads to success. I’m running because I believe we can do better in a number of areas: housing, farmland protection, and environmental leadership. I have three small children and I think about where Richmond will be in 20–30 years. The status quo is not sustainable. I met a young girl while I was out doorknocking, and she wanted to know what I was doing and what my flyers looked like. After I explained, she proudly declared that when she was bigger, she was going to do the same thing. I just about burst with hope for the future.

Suzanne Perreault

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