A single trustee from the Windermere zone is seeking re-election in the next set of elections for the Rocky Mountain school district.
Jim Jenkinson, a two-term trustee representing Area F, will run again — though this time he’ll do so as the trustee representing Invermere.
While current board chair and Invermere trustee Greg Anderson and Area G trustee Roberta Hall will be on the ballot in the coming municipal and regional elections, both are seeking new positions.
Anderson is running for a District of Invermere council seat, while Hall has put her name in for the director position for Electoral Area G.
Jenkinson’s move from the Area F seat to the Invermere seat won’t change his responsibilities on the board if he’s re-elected, but frees up space for a community member in the electoral area.
All trustees deal with issues around SD6 — the Windermere zone’s electoral areas simply make sure there’s representation in rural communities.
“I’m excited about running in Invermere, because I live here and my kids go to school here,” explains Jenkinson, whose daughters Barbara and Jaime both attend David Thompson Secondary School.
A former forest educator and teacher in the public school system and at the college level, Jenkinson says his ties to the area’s schools, as well as his six years of previous experience, make him an asset on the board.
He’s also represented SD6 at the provincial level, as its representative to B.C. School Trustee Association meetings.
“One of the things that’s motivating me is the need for continuity on the board,” he adds.
“We’ve had a very stable board for a number of years. The last two elections I think we’ve had one or two trustees in the entire school district who didn’t seek re-election, or got new trustees because of an election. This time, we’ll have a minimum of four.”
In his time as a trustee so far, Jenkinson says he’s been pleased with the board’s focus on student achievement and its ability to focus on local issues and bring community-minded programs to schools.
In the Windermere zone, those programs would include community gardening initiatives, Intensive French at Windermere Elementary and DTSS and hockey programs at the high school and J.A. Laird Elementary.
With two seats empty going into nominations, Jenkinson and past Windermere trustees are encouraging new people to step forward and look into the position.
“Of the 12 years I spent, it’s a wonderful experience,” says Anderson.
“If you’re passionate about kids, if you’re passionate about education, if you’re passionate about student achievement and all the benefits it brings to society, you’ve got to step forward.”
But both have one caution for trustee hopefuls: there is a learning curve.
“It’s steep,” Jenkinson says.
“When I was asked to put my name forward six years ago, I was under the impression that there would be a couple meetings a month and a little bit of report reading — it’s at least a 10 and sometimes 20 hour a week commitment.”
“And there’s some controversy some times, because hard decisions have to be made with budgets,” adds Anderson. “If it’s school closures, or issues the parents have in the community with education, it’s close to everybody’s heart. But overall it was a tremendous experience for me.”
Jenkinson says parents considering a run at a trustee seat can get in touch with him if they’d like advice by emailing email@example.com or calling 250-342-0753.
The Regional District of East Kootenay oversees trustee nominations for SD6. As with other municipal elections, nomination packets for the trustee election must be returned to the district by 4 p.m. October 14 to be accepted.