Election 2014: John Sutherland retires from board of education

School district 34: The long-time Abbotsford trustee has served 27 years on the board of education

John Sutherland

John Sutherland

John Sutherland has announced he is retiring from politics after having served as an Abbotsford school trustee for 10 terms totalling 27 years.

Sutherland made the announcement on Wednesday.

He said he is leaving the board of education and municipal politics simply because he is ready to retire after having been involved since 1983.

“I believe that the district is in a good place, and I leave with a tremendous sense of fulfilment,” he said.

Sutherland is a retired professor and university dean who still does some consulting, writing and lecturing.

He noted that his first year as a trustee in 1983 coincided with some other firsts, including the introduction of Microsoft Word, mobile phones, CDs and Chicken McNuggets.

“So I guess it’s fair to say that I have had the privilege, along with a host of wonderful, creative educators, administrators and trustees, of building a modern school district from scratch,” he said.

He said he takes great satisfaction in the improvements of student performance over the years, with B.C. now being ranked first in Canada and among the top five in the world and Abbotsford exceeding well above the provincial average.

Sutherland said of the many progressive educational initiatives that have taken place in Abbotsford in his time, some of his favourites have been the New Beginnings program, the Bakerview Centre for Learning, the award-winning integrated arts schools, the Youth Council, Strong Start, and the Careers program.

He expressed gratitude to district principal Perry Smith and his colleagues for the outstanding work being done in aboriginal education.

He said superintendent Kevin Godden, secretary-treasurer Ray Velestuk and their respective staffs are “outstanding public servants.”

“They are providing leadership that will benefit our community for generations to come.”

Sutherland said he is grateful to God for the opportunity he has had “to participate with first-rate professionals in providing an education for a life worth living. It was a privilege, and the best use to which I ever gave my time.”