Voters went for the familiar when it came to selecting a school trustee for Rossland. Incumbent trustee Gord Smith defeated challenger Desiree Profili 713-451. We asked Gord Smith to answer a series of questions during the campaign. Here’s what he told us then.
1. Who are you?
I was born and raised in Toronto and attended Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, where I earned a degree in political science. I came to Rossland to ski and that weeklong stay is now in its twenty-fourth year and counting. My wife and I have two children. Our son attended MacLean, RSS and JL Crowe. Our daughter attended MacLean, RSS and is now in Grade 9 at JL Crowe. I work for Telus Communications as a district network manager for the B.C. Southern Interior region.
2. What qualities do you possess that would make you a good school board trustee?
For the last 16 years I have had the privilege of serving as municipal councillor, mayor and board of education trustee for the City of Rossland. As a trustee for School District No. 20 I have served as a board chair, vice-chair and chair of the Human Resources Committee. During this time I have studied policy administration, strategic HR management and am currently halfway through an executive MBA program at the University of Victoria. The qualities I bring to the Board include a passion for learning and extensive leadership experience in both the private and public sector.
3. What do you see as the biggest issue facing the Kootenay-Columbia School District and how would you address it?
The biggest issue we face is the acquisition and ongoing development of teachers. In the past few years there have been significant changes that have impacted our schools. These include the introduction of the new B.C. curriculum, the restoration of contract language that mandates the hiring of hundreds of teachers across the province, and the role that technology has in the classroom. Supporting new and existing teachers in our district requires sustained funding in teacher development and peer-to-peer coaching. I hope to continue being a strong advocate for helping teachers make the classroom experience the best it can be.
4. What, if anything, do you think has to change at the school district?
Gord Smith—There is an opportunity to improve communication between schools, students and parents. Currently schools primarily communicate to parents by an online newsletter. Students would benefit from their parents having a better understanding of the curriculum, being keenly aware of their child’s progress, and developing a more collaborative relationship with teachers. The school district lacks a communication plan that can bring schools, teachers, students and parents closer together to help support the educational journey of our learners throughout the district.
5. What do you hope to accomplish by the end of your term?
The board has several important initiatives that I hope to contribute to during the next term. One of the most important is the finalization of the long-range facilities plan. I want to ensure that RSS remains a K-9 school with great programs, services and electives. Our community needs influential leadership to build collaborative relationships with other trustees, while strongly advocating for the needs of our community. I am very proud to call Rossland home, and hope to continue contributing to its vitality and sustainability.