The current board of education: Kat Hawksby (clockwise from top left), Janice Caton, Tonia Frawley, Sheila McDonnell, Sarah Jane Howe, Ian Hargreaves and Michelle Waite. Hargreaves is the new chair for the year. Photo, Comox Valley Schools

Comox Valley school trustees pick Hargreaves as chair

Two-term trustee worked for 45 years as a teacher

Ian Hargreaves will serve as the new chair for the board of education with Comox Valley Schools.

The board picks its chair and vice-chair, along with a couple of other positions, at its November meeting for the coming year. Six trustees attended the Nov. 26 meeting, while Kat Hawksby was absent but voted through a scrutineer via telephone and email.

Trustee Sarah Jane Howe nominated Hargreaves while Sheila McDonnell nominated Janice Caton, the previous chair, to chair the board this year.

Hargreaves declined to make any remarks prior to the vote, but Caton said she would like to serve one more year to continue her work build relationships for the school district before she passes the torch.

“I’d like to finish the work that I’m doing,” she said.

RELATED STORY: School District 71 board sworn in

Hargreaves ended up with the most votes. As is routine for boards of education, voting results are not reported, beyond whom is chosen, and ballots destroyed.

During the chair’s report portion of the meeting, Hargreaves thanked his colleagues and provided some personal background.

“My personal goals include continuing to build transparency, collegiality and a strong team by increasing board capacity,” he said.

RELATED STORY: Parent voice and community engagement at the heart of incumbent Hargreaves’ desire to seek re-election as Area C school trustee

The second-term trustee outlined his experience, which included working as a teacher for 45 years, including 30 years in the Comox Valley. He first came to the community to help with the integration of special needs students into the school system.

“That was my direction from the very beginning,” he said.

In addition to teaching, he worked with the Ministry of Education on curriculum development and has served on various board committees and as vice-chair.

“My focus is and always has been on student achievement,” he said.

For vice-chair, Michelle Waite put Tonia Frawley’s name forward, while McDonnell again nominated Caton. However, the former chair declined the nomination. She alluded to a family matter, then excused herself from the meeting.

As well, the board chose representatives to the B.C. School Trustees Association (BCSTA) Provincial Council as well as the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association (BCPSEA), which is the bargaining body for boards of education.

Frawley won the BCSTA representative position by acclamation, while Waite was chosen as the alternate. For BCPSEA, McDonnell won the position by acclamation, and Howe was picked as the alternate.

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