Three candidates have entered the race for Castlegar’s two seats on the School District 20 School Board. Each candidate was asked about their background, why they decided to run and what their goals and priorities would be if elected.
Rosann Brunton is originally from Calgary. After leaving Calgary she spent five years in Nakusp and has lived in Castlegar for the last two and a half years.
She has an Engineering degree and has worked for both the Alberta government and municipal government. Her work involved enforcing legislation and understanding how legislation is put together. Brunton stated, “I have the understanding, the experience in the particulars of dealing and working with government.” She is now halfway through working on an Accounting Technician diploma.
“One of things I hope to bring to the trustee position is a thorough understanding of the budgetary process and judiciary responsibilities and the variety of accounting requirements that the board is held under.”
She has been active in her children’s education from the beginning having been on the board of directors at their preschool and then moving on to become president of the PAC at their school. The next step is a seat on the school board. “My children have another decade in the school system. I want to ensure however I can that their education experience is the best that it can be.”
She sees the biggest issue as the lack of funding for children in BC. She would like to lobby the government for increased funding in cooperation with other school boards and interest groups.
“There currently is no one on the board who has children in the elementary system. I think there needs to be a voice for the children that are currently moving through… I think all perspectives need to be heard at the table and this in one perspective that isn’t right now.”
Catherine Zaitsoff has lived in Castlegar for 12 years. She has worked for Celgar and Teck as a lab technician and systems coordinator. She has served on the parent executive of the Russian preschool and with the Twin Rivers/Castlegar Primary PAC. She has also been the public speaking coordinator for the Miss Castlegar program for the past 10 years.
“I would like to ensure that current users have a voice at the school board, that they remind the school board that things are not just about numbers. Their decisions affect students, parents, teachers, CUPE members.”
She would like to focus on class room size and composition. She is also interested in working on technology issues.
“I would like to take an in- depth look at the use of technology in our classrooms, whether or not it is OK for younger years, including how to balance the use of technology with the use of special education techniques, interactions with their peers and nature.” She would also like to work on more sustainable funding, ensuring respect and accountability and seeking more public input. She further stated, “I am a passionate tireless advocate of public education. I want to return to a respectful dialog between all parties.”
Mickey Kinakin has been on the school board for more than 20 years. Previously representing Area 1, he has chosen to run in Castlegar this time because there are no more schools left in Area 1. Now retired, Kinakin spent over 35 years working for Selkirk College including time spent as the Health and Safety officer. He has also served on the Provincial Childcare Council, Board of the BC Public Sector Employers Council and five years as a director on the Provincial Council of the BC School Trustee Association.
Kinakin has previously championed community schools in Robson and Blueberry Creek and was instrumental in establishing the French and Russian language programs in the district.
He feels strongly about community involvement in education. “Education is everybody’s business. This is the public’s system. It does not belong to government, cities, or trustees. It is the public system. If the public is involved, then it runs well.” He would like to tackle the problem of the district’s funding shortfalls by working with the cities and other districts to petition the government to change the structural funding formula. “This is killing us in this area. It is affecting our children’s education. We have to get the community here working together. We need to remember we are serving children, serving parents.”