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Graham MacDonell running again for Abbotsford school trustee position

Former police service communications manager and journalist hoping to clinch board seat
Graham Evan MacDonell. (Submitted photo)

Graham Evan MacDonell is running in the Oct. 15 election to be a school trustee.

MacDonell ran in the 2018 election, and is once again hoping to clinch one of the seven seats. In a press release announcing his candidacy, he described himself as a “retired national police service communications manager turned professional genealogist,” who also has worked as Santa Claus in the Fraser Valley for the past six Christmas seasons.

MacDonell’s career includes teaching and journalism and has spanned 50 years and multiple countries, including Canada, Japan and Scotland. He also has a combined 17 years of post-secondary education.

“Getting a good education is fundamental to a happy, successful life,” he said. “And, as a society, we need to place education higher on the list of our priorities.”

He is hoping that as a school trustee, he can help Abbotsford students get the best education possible.

“It is the role of school trustees to forward parents’ and taxpayers’ expectations about the quality of education they want for their children and our next generation into reality through developing student-supportive policies,” MacDonell said.

MacDonell called himself “fiercely independent” and does not believe in political slates at the board or municipal level.

“Like any corporate organization, the Abbotsford Board of Education needs new trustees who can contribute their expertise in governing our excellent school system, particularly during these times of chronic underfunding,” MacDonell stressed.

Other challenges facing Abbotsford’s board of education in the year ahead, he noted, include “ramifications of its cross-boundary policy impacting school catchment areas that was established years ago when previous Abbotsford Boards of Education allowed greater choice for parents to enrol their children in schools outside of their neighbourhood.”

MacDonell started his career as a teacher for Ojibway children in the bush of northern Ontario and then switched to journalism, becoming a communications officer for the B.C. School Trustees Association, then editing the Peace Arch News in White Rock while reporting on Surrey School Board.

After that, he carried out corporate communications for B.C. Hydro for five years and he also spent five years providing multi-national corporate communications consultancy in Hiroshima, before working for the B.C. Liberal Party in communications and election campaign management in the 1990s until 2001.

In 2008, he completed post-graduate studies in genealogy, heraldry and palaeography at Strathclyde University in Glasgow, Scotland while being a communications officer/manager for the Association of Chief Police Officers in Scotland (ACPOS).

READ MORE: Abbotsford school trustee candidates to hit the stage for forum


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Jessica Peters

About the Author: Jessica Peters

I began my career in 1999, covering communities across the Fraser Valley ever since.
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