A math professor, retired teacher, a mom and former school trustee are all running for the vacant Kelowna seat on the Central Okanagan Public Schools board of education.
The are seeking to replace Rolli Cacchioni, who died earlier this year, to fill out his 2018-22 electoral term until the next civic election on Oct. 15, 2022.
Election voting day is Saturday, June 26, with the last advance voting opportunity on Wednesday, June 23. A previous advance poll was held June 16.
The four candidates are Wayne Broughton, Joyce Brinkerhoff, Chelsea Frank and Peter Pagliocchini.
Today, we introduce you to each of the candidates and why they are running to be a school trustee.
Joyce Brinkerhoff, 65, was a Central Okanagan trustee from 2011 to 2014 but lost her bid for re-election.
Brinkerhoff feels her experience on the school board will be an advantage because she can adjust quickly and be immediately productive in what will be a short term of office.
“A new person to the board has to gone through a learning process to figure out how everything works but I can get caught up quickly because I have been on the board and have since remained involved in school related issues…I can jump in at the start running,” she said.
Brinkerhoff has been active for many years as a volunteer with the Intercultural Society, Hope for the Nations and Global Citizen Kelowna initiatives.
She has four adult children who went through the local public school system, and currently has 10 grandkids, the oldest being 16.
Brinkerhoff said she’s a strong advocate for human rights, but is concerned about some of the issues her grandkids tell her they face today in school.
She feels the pendulum for cultural correctness has swung too far in the opposite direction, that all students need to both respect others and be respected.
“People have the right to make their own choices and as long-time human rights advocate I will fight to the death for that, but I do think there has been a erosion of acceptance for kids in some of their lifestyle beliefs.”
She calls it a “cop-out” for local residents no longer with children in the school system to not pay attention to issues facing the education of a younger generation.
“I think to get out and vote is the big thing. People who have grown up kids, or grandparents, to not vote is a cop-out,”Brinkerhoff said.
“We need to have a quality education system because the students coming out of that system will be taking care of us one day.”
A math professor at UBC Okanagan and member of both the KSS Parent Advisory Council and Central Okanagan Parent Advisory Council, Wayne Broughton says he has a good grounding for serving on the board of education.
His PAC activity involvement has given him insight into the issues facing public education in the Central Okanagan and the quality of people who work in the school system, particularly at KSS.
“I feel I bring an ability to process complex information and make sound decisions, and be willing to work with other people to come to agreement on issues,” Broughton said.
“And I am willing to speak my own mind.”
The 52-year-old has two kids, one who has have graduated high school and a second child now in Grade 10. He has lived in Kelowna for 25 years.
He is supportive of long-term planning objectives to address enrolment issues and is a strong supporter of SOGI initiatives introduced by the ministry of education to create safe, caring and inclusive learning environments for all students regardless of their race, culture, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity and expression.
“I know that was a bit controversial for the board but I think SOGI makes sense and I still stand behind it,” he said.
Chelsea Frank is making her second attempt to get elected as a school trustee, having run as a candidate in the 2018 election, finishing 7th among 10 contenders in the race then for four allotted Kelowna school board seats.
Frank, 39, has four children currently in the public school system, ranging from Grades 4 to 7.
“I have seen first-hand what kids want and need. Kids need a voice to succeed and I want to be an advocate for them,” Frank said.
She noted that COVID-19 has left a significant impact on school extra-curricular programs this past year and hopes to start seeing those programs come back on stream as the pandemic health concerns subside.
Frank says while her husband has been active in the anti-masking public rallies in Kelowna in recent months, she said that issue is not what her candidacy is about.
She addressed that issue raised by others with this posting on her Facebook page: “Just so I am clear, my personal opinions and beliefs and values have absolutely nothing to do with running for SD23 trustee position…My stance on masks, vaccinations, or the colour of your child’s hair should not come in the way of me doing the BEST for kids.”
Frank told the Capital News her kids wear a mask at their schools and on the school bus, and have had their vaccination shots.
“The mask issue is not part of my campaign whatsoever. I want to be an advocate for the kids and schools,” she stressed.
Peter Pagliocchini is making his third attempt at election to the school board, having run for trustee in the 2014 and 2018 civic elections.
“I came close last election and I still have a passion for education so I thought I would give it another shot,” said Pagliocchini of his candidacy.
The retired teacher, 67, has been a Kelowna resident for more than 35 years, with three grown children who graduated high school, with two now pursuing post-secondary education careers and a third currently attending the University of Alberta.
The Rutland resident says a big issue for him is equity in the education system, where your postal code doesn’t dictate the quality of education your kids should receive.
He feels any efforts the school district can do to raise revenues, such as the international student program, is one way to enhance education equity.
He counts Rolli Cacchioni among his mentors, someone who helped him as a sounding board on 1education issues.
As a teacher who briefly taught at a private school, intermediate French Immersion and elementary, middle and high school, Pagliocchini said he would bring a teacher’s perspective to the board but is quick to note overseeing a school district as a school trustee requires more than just a myopic viewpoint of a teacher.
“The bottom line is kids should come first and I am willing to work with staff and various stakeholders to achieve that,” Pagliocchini said.