Two Comox Valley School Board areas unopposed, four to face trustee election

Two Comox Valley School Board areas unopposed, four to face trustee election

In the Comox Valley School Board election, two of the six areas will have candidates acclaimed, and the other four areas will face an election.

Area B, covering Lazo North, the incumbent Michelle Waite has been acclaimed in her position, alongside fellow incumbent Sarah Jane Howe for the Village of Cumberland.

City of Courtenay, where two trustees will be elected, Area A, Area C, and the Town of Comox, each of which will have one trustee, is up for election.

In the 2018 election, 4,392 ballots were cast for the school board positions.

Area A

Three candidates have put their names forward for two trustee positions.

Kat Hawksby is an incumbent trustee seeking re-election, and two candidates will seek election for the first time – Chelsea McCannel-Keene and Keith Porteous.

Kat Hawksby

Kat Hawksby is a mother to two children in the district and is an active parent volunteer with various Parent Advisory Councils as her children grew through the school system.

She serves as the chair of the policy committee for the district and sits as the trustee representative on the Indigenous Education Council.

In the 2018 election, Hawksby was acclaimed to one of the City of Courtenay seats.

Chelsea McCannel-Keene

McCannel-Keene has raised her two sons in Royston, and has worked with the Comox Valley Child Development Association, Inclusive Education, the Ministry of Children and Family Development and now the Ministry of Education.

If elected as trustee, she hopes to address the SD 71 school boundaries, implement action plans to better support well-being of children, the strategic action plan, and improve communication and transparency between the board and families.

McCannel-Keene’s Facebook page can be found here.

Keith Porteous

CHEK News was unable to find contact information for Porteous or any websites. If information becomes available, this story will be updated to include information about him and his campaign.

Area C

Two candidates have put their names forward for the Area C position, the incumbent and a person seeking election for the first time.

Cristi May Sacht is the incumbent candidate, and Kendall Packham will challenge the seat.

Cristi May Sacht

Sacht is hoping to be re-elected for a second term and is a fourth generation Islander who was raised in Sayward. She has four teenagers with the oldest having graduated in 2021 from Highland.

If elected, she hopes to continue her work to ensure students have support, resources and tools they need to succeed.

Sacht was elected in a 2020 byelection with 53 votes.

Kendall Packham

Packham has three young children and has served on the Arden PAC including as chair, co-chair, and secretary. She says she is running to be a trustee to be a strong voice for students and families.

In the past, she has advocated for the needs of children with different learning abilities and needs, and says she hopes to advocate for is food security and better meal programs if elected trustee.

Packham’s Facebook page can be found here.

City of Courtenay

Four candidates are seeking election for the two trustee roles for the City of Courtenay.

Janice Caton is the incumbent seeking re-election, and Shannon Aldinger, Anita Devries, and Jasmine Willard are seeking election.

Shannon Aldinger

Aldinger has lived in Courtenay since 2012 and have two children, one who attends Mark R. Isfeld Secondary School, and another in university. She has a law degree from Dalhousie University and has a certification as a family law mediator. She has been a volunteer in different capacities in the district for years.

If elected, she hopes to support improved community-wide collaboration on meeting youth needs in the Comox Valley, increased collaboration with local governments, improved communication and transparency, closing the pandemic learning gap, introducing consent education, promoting inclusivity for LGBTQ+ youth, implementing climate change initiatives, and working towards truth and reconciliation.

Aldinger’s website can be found here.

Janice Caton

Caton is seeking her sixth term as trustee representing the City of Courtenay. Her three sons attended schools in the district and graduated from Vanier Secondary School and she is now a grandparent of four grandchildren, who she cites as the reason for continuing to advocate for strong public education systems.

If re-elected as trustee she says she will continue to push for all students to receive a rich, equitable, and full education that embraces their passions and challenges them to become global citizens.

She was acclaimed in the 2018 election.

Caton’s website can be found here.

Anita Devries

CHEK News did not hear back from Devries. If information becomes available, this story will be updated to include information about her and her campaign.

Jasmine Willard

Willard is a mother of two who has 15 years of experience in public policy and economics with the governments of Canada and British Columbia. She served as vice-chair of the Kids Cottage Daycare Society in Coquitlam where she supported the non-profit to become one of the first-ever $10/day childcare sites in the province.

If elected, she is committed to a 2SLGBTQ+ and gender-inclusive curriculum, reconciliation and anti-racism learning, climate resilient and seismic upgrades to school infrastructure, food security of all children, taking a balanced and sustainable approach to increasing school capacity, before and after-school care solutions, addressing learning gaps created by the pandemic, supporting a blend of classroom and tech-based learning, continuing the momentum of NIDES, collaborative governance, responsible financial stewardship, open dialogue and community accountability.

Willard’s website can be found here.

Town of Comox

One seat is available in the Town of Comox for a trustee, and three people are seeking the seat with no incumbent running.

Randi Baldwin, Susan Leslie, and Vicky Trill are hoping to be elected to the seat.

Randi Baldwin

Baldwin graduated from a two-year psychiatric nursing program and has worked as an educational assistant in the Bella Coola School District. When she moved to the Comox Valley in the 1980s, she trained as a library technician and worked in school libraries for 16 years.

If elected as a trustee, Baldwin hopes to address school boundaries, environmental sustainability, mental health issues, Indigenous learning, and improving communication and transparency.

Susan Leslie

Leslie has 35 years experience as an educator, recently retiring as a director of instruction. She has taught at several schools in SD 71.

She is Mi’kmaw from teh Qalipu First Nation and has worked to ensure students are meaningfully included in safe learning environments and foster a sense of belonging.

Leslie’s campaign site is still in development.

Vicky Trill

CHEK News did not hear back from Trill. If information becomes available, this story will be updated to include information about her and her campaign.

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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