There are 13 candidates vying for seven spots on the Abbotsford board of education. (Abbotsford News file photo)

There are 13 candidates vying for seven spots on the Abbotsford board of education. (Abbotsford News file photo)

Abbotsford trustee candidates respond to questions

13 people vying for seven spots at the board of education table

There are 13 candidates running for seven trustee positions on the Abbotsford board of education in the municipal election on Oct. 15. The Abbotsford News posed two questions to each candidate.

For more on the candidates, visit The Abbotsford News’ special election section here or the Election 2022 tab on our website.

PHIL ANDERSON

Q: Why are you running to be a member of the Abbotsford board of education?

A: I have a heart for all young people and I want to see them succeed in life while they’re in school and at the end of their school journey, whether that be university, trades, the arts or whatever other position they desire. Schools have an important role to play in not only educating students but also in instilling in them a desire to achieve the goals that are important to them. The decisions made at the school board level will affect all of this.

Q: What are the main issues you would like to see the board deal with this term?

A: 1. The government has required us to use our surplus funds on buildings instead of education. I’d like to see this reversed.

2. More open communication between staff, the community and the board.

3. Hiring more specialized staff to work with specialized students.

KATHERINE CYR

Q: Why are you running to be a member of the Abbotsford board of education?

A: Ensuring that our children have everything they need to be successful during their time in our district is paramount. I can bring an important balance in perspective to the board with my extensive background and current experiences with the public school system.

Q: What are the main issues you would like to see the board deal with this term?

A: Staffing challenges are an important item right now but it’s difficult to pick just one. I saw at the last board meeting that two of the trustees worked to clarify items for the general public who don’t necessarily have all the background knowledge. We need more of that.

RUPI KANDA-RAJWAN

Q: Why are you running to be a member of the Abbotsford board of education?

A: Resident of Abbotsford, and our three children are enrolled in public schools. My education: Diploma in Early Childhood Education (ECE), specializing special needs; Degree in Child and Youth Care, specializing Child Protection; Master’s of Education, specializing ECE. My education and my community involvement would be an asset to the board.

Q: What are the main issues you would like to see the board deal with this term?

A: Offering sufficient opportunities for music and sports in all schools. Not all schools have a music program. ECE focuses on the significance of music in the early years and the benefits in all aspects. To create age-appropriate conversations and collaboration with the parents to be the first voice to children to be safe around drugs, guns and violence.

FREDDY LATHAM (incumbent)

Q: Why are you running to be a member of the Abbotsford board of education?

A: Believe in importance of role. Passionate about public education and supporting children and youth. Ongoing work in community mentoring youth in arts. Experience as a former educator. Knowledgeable and articulate/eight years on board of education. Retired/time to give and attend many functions/visit schools.

Q: What are the main issues you would like to see the board deal with this term?

A: 1) More support in schools/classrooms. LSS support and in-service especially in enquiry-based learning. 2) More stakeholder engagement with parents and City of Abbotsford to build stronger connections to benefit schools and community. 3) Continue work in equity, diversity and inclusion, Truth and Reconciliation, mental health and wellness to benefit all students.

KORKY NEUFELD (incumbent)

Q: Why are you running to be a member of the Abbotsford board of education?

A: As a public servant I serve the taxpayer first and foremost, then parents who entrust their children into our care for their formative years. I want to improve parent/guardian direct involvement in their child’s education … the pandemic proved that.

Q: What are the main issues you would like to see the board deal with this term?

A: The challenges of the past few years have brought opportunities of how we can deliver education more effectively in different ways that meet the varying needs of students and families, I want us to pursue that.

STAN PETERSEN (incumbent)

Q: Why are you running to be a member of the Abbotsford board of education?

A: I am privileged to have served the past three terms as an Abbotsford trustee – the last four years as board chair. I would like to continue with our student success agenda. Indicators show that our students are achieving well but more work is needed. I am up for that work.

Q: What are the main issues you would like to see the board deal with this term?

A: The main issue for every term is student success. This means adding to our already talented staff, providing resourced and safe schools, and providing programming that meets the needs of all student – all to achieve our vision of a world-class, innovative, and individualized educational experience for EVERY student.

GRAHAM MacDONELL

Q: Why are you running to be a member of the Abbotsford board of education?

A: Abbotsford board of education /school trustees need to communicate more effectively as they represent the interests of their community and need to ensure that communication with parents, the general public, special interest groups, as well as administration staff, teachers and support staff, is accurate, timely and comprehensive.

Q: What are the main issues you would like to see the board deal with this term?

A: New and improved schools, improving Indigenous students’ success, supporting families with back-to-school costs, encouraging excellence in education, K-8 summer enhancement, encouraging inclusion, improving communication both internally and externally.

PREET RAI (incumbent)

Q: Why are you running to be a member of the Abbotsford board of education?

A: In my 14 years of being a school trustee, I have particularly enjoyed visiting schools throughout the district. My upbringing instilled both a desire and a sense of responsibility around family, community involvement and education. It was a driving factor when I first ran for school trustee, and it is the reason I am seeking re-election.

Q: What are the main issues you would like to see the board deal with this term?

A: Focus on providing constant advocacy for the best opportunities to prepare students for success and to achieve their dreams over the next term. Increase the communication with parents and staff. Continue the work done on diversity and inclusion. Everyone’s safety is always a top priority.

MIKE RAUCH

Q: Why are you running to be a member of the Abbotsford board of education?

I have the business and leadership skills to think strategically about population growth, improve catchment concerns, and hire the right people. I care deeply about meeting every child where they are at, and I understand the vital role that education plays in each and every child’s future.

Q: What are the main issues you would like to see the board deal with this term?

1.Growth is intensifying issues regarding catchments, lack of resources, fair and equitable access to district programs.

2. We must improve transparency and communication around fiscal practices, educational programming, strategic goals, and create a culture where staff and parents are safe to share concerns.

SHANNON ROSE

Q: Why are you running to be a member of the Abbotsford board of education?

A: I believe that with the proper tools and supports in place, every child can be successful, but their path must start in kindergarten. As school trustee, I will work with our teachers and support staff to achieve our shared goal of each child reaching their full potential.

Q: What are the main issues you would like to see the board deal with this term?

A: I would like to see the board continue its path on Indigenous education, continue to improve its strategic plan and to address staff shortages for both TOCs and EAs. I would also like to see the board reach out more to community stakeholders for input in decision-making processes.

EARL STOREY

Q: Why are you running to be a member of the Abbotsford board of education?

I’m running under a “Parent’s Choice” banner because I believe parents need to have their voices heard once again in the classrooms. I believe the decision-making reins need to be handed back to the parents.

Q: What are the main issues you would like to see the board deal with this term?

I have spoken with many parents who have real concerns that they’re being left out of what’s happening in their child’s classroom. Many believe there’s not enough transparency between the school system and the parents, and feel like their voices aren’t being heard. My goal is to help make their voices heard and support their freedom to choose what’s best for their children when it comes to their education.

SHIRLEY WILSON (incumbent)

Q: Why are you running to be a member of the Abbotsford board of education?

A: I am running for re-election to Abbotsford board of education to ensure we improve communications with parents/families and the community in much more work to be done to improve student achievement and the overall learning experience. I hope to continue my service to Abbotsford.

Q: What are the main issues you would like to see the board deal with this term?

A: I want to see more parental engagement, stakeholder and employee group consultations, and improved communications overall. Additionally, I want to ensure that operating dollars are used for services and not for capital contributions. I do want to see more capital projects in Abbotsford, as we are at capacity. Improving the student learning experience is key for me, and already this year I see the shortage of teaching and support staff in our district.

My hope is for greater public confidence in our educational services and communications.

JARED WHITE

Q: Why are you running to be a member of the Abbotsford board of education?

A: I am running under a “Partners in Education” banner because I want to make students my number one priority by making those who love and care for them equal partners in the education process. I want all parents, all teachers, and all students to feel like they have an equal voice at the decision-making table.

Q: What are the main issues you would like to see the board deal with this term?

A: Bullying and student mental health. These issues could be addressed through school reconfiguration (K-7/8), a greater focus on physical education, and allocating more resources to students with special needs. In addition, we need to address materials and books being used in our schools that are not age appropriate.

Abby SchoolsBreaking NewsElection 2022Municipal election

Breaking News You Need To Know

Sign up for a free account today and start receiving our exclusive newsletters.

Sign Up with google Sign Up with facebook

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Reset your password

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

A link has been emailed to you - check your inbox.



Don't have an account? Click here to sign up