The Osoyoos community is looking for a trustee — and Board Chair Marizee Tarr hopes that person will come equipped with a passion for education and an ability to listen and collaborate.

Okanagan Similkameen trustees met by telephone this morning to set in motion a process to elect a trustee to step in for June Harrington, who quietly announced last month she would be resigning her position.

“Her leaving is a great loss to our Board, but we understand that sometimes you get to a point in your life that you realize it’s been enough,” Ms. Tarr said by phone this morning from Port Hardy, where she is vacationing.

“We’re very sad to see June go. We’re very grateful for all of her contributions and volunteering that she has done in our schools.”

Ms Harrington’s resignation takes effect once the trustee by-election is complete and the new trustee has taken oath of office.

A by-election to fill that position is scheduled for early November; however, if the position is filled by acclamation, the new trustee could be part of the board as early as October 1.

The nomination period for the by-election is set for Aug. 19 to Sept. 14, with nominations accepted by Chief Electoral Officer Lynda Minnabarriet, the district’s Secretary Treasurer, between Sept. 20 and Sept. 30.

If a by-election is necessary, advance voting will be held on October 26 and Voting Day set for Nov. 5.

The elected trustee would then serve on the Board of Education until the 2018 General School Election.

“Now we will await and see who will put their names forward,” said Ms. Tarr.

She expects candidates will be “interested in education and being involved in the education of the students in our district.”

It obviously has to be somebody who is interested in setting policies that would benefit the students in all districts and basically the education of all,” she said.

“As long as you’re able to listen and to collaborate with other people — those are the strengths I think that you need as a trustee.

“And the passion — I had to dig deep to find my passion, but sometime you have to just take time away from everything until you find it again.”

In order to run in the by-election, a candidate must be:

  • an individual who is, or will be on general voting day or effective date of appointment, age 18 or older;
  • a Canadian citizen;
  • a resident of British Columbia for at least six months before the date of the nomination, election or appointment.

Despite the difficult period when the Board pondered, then determined to close Osoyoos Secondary School and finally to keep it open, Ms Tarr says she has enjoyed her time as a trustee.

“For me, it has been really tough at times,” she said.

“Obviously, the last six months haven’t been the greatest, but in any job you get challenging periods. There’s a problem, you try and fix it and move forward.

“I do this because I love kids and I care deeply about kids and education. I volunteer in the schools two days a week. My whole career prior to becoming a trustee was all about education.”

Ms Tarr said the new trustee will be joining a board that works well as a unit.

“The wonderful thing about our board is that we can make decisions and not always agree with everyone else’s point of view,” she said.

“But after we’ve made the decision, we’ve always come together as a board, and we’ve always worked really well together. We all honour and respect each other and I think that is the strength of our board.

 

“We drew strength in the last six months from each other and relied on each other. That has brought us through this really difficult process.”

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