Posts Tagged: board of directors

No Regrets

The day after… the BCSTA AGM… and I am feeling great. I have no regrets running for president and I am so proud of SD46 for passing 3 motions on student voice. What should I be disappointed about? Nothing.

Putting my name forward as BCSTA president was one of the best things I have done for myself. First, it was unfinished work from last year. Second, I wanted to be what I wanted to see. Third, I had something to learn.

The assembly had spoken. A clear majority voted for the incumbent and I can understand that. It keeps continuity, he’s done the job as expected, and the directors to be elected were subject to change. I am led by the assembly. That said, I was not willing to put my name forward for VP or director as part of a strategy. The assembly made a decision about leadership and I wanted them to make a decision. I knew the outcome of the election well before the vote when trustees asked me to put my name forward as VP throughout the AGM. Thank you for your confidence of having my voice on the board.

To follow through with my campaign was a test of my character but also a test for others. I appreciated the authentic connections I had with trustees throughout the weekend who supported my campaign, gave me tips and suggestions for my campaign, and connected with me as a person. I loved that. Running for election is not personal. It was interesting to observe others who were not willing to chat with me or give eye contact. I got plenty of courtesy hello’s or smiles. I was awakened. But, I did appreciate the post-election compliments for my campaign and speech. This is politics. The best part of the campaign experience was the unconditional respect and support I got from others. It was the best I could do and I could not have performed as well without their formative feedback.

I don’t feel that I have failed. I feel like I have won. I am satisfied. I am confident that this board of directors will lead the BCSTA as best as they can, that is guided by the membership. The leadership team of the P/VP remained the same and 3 new directors joined the board. This will be the fresh voice the board of directors need and will benefit from. For me, running for president was about modelling what I want to see for BCSTA. Put your name forward, have your voice, and let the assembly choose. I wanted to offer choice for leadership, but also challenge the assembly to make a decision and feel good about it. My work is done and I am filled with gratitude. Now, I am set onto a different direction. I am finding my place and the outcome of the BCSTA election was a gift.

I am driven by three principles:

  1. You never know unless you try. (take a risk, don’t assume)
  2. You can’t tell a drunk they are a drunk. (self-actualization)
  3. You don’t know what you don’t know. (be open to learning)

I know that Principle 2 needs revision. It’s not the best saying, but it’s meaning resonates with me. I have satisfied all three principles, hence my satisfaction. Thank you members of the BCSTA. Continue to do the great work that you do. An extra special thank you to those who are choosing to not to run in the upcoming municipal election as school trustee. And best of luck to those who are planning to run. Make this role attractive to others. Boards of Education do make a difference to BC public education and student learning. Don’t forget that. You are change agents. You are Educational Leaders!!!

Spoiled Ballot

The 2017/18 BCSTA Board of Directors taking their oath at the 113th AGM.

It’s the day after the BC School Trustees (BCSTA) Annual General Meeting (AGM). I must admit, it was one of the strangest experiences I’ve ever had. This year, I did not put my name forward for the 2017/18 Board of Directors. I’ve served for 3 years on the board and I am very happy of the work that we accomplished. I was surprised how many people asked me “why I was not running” throughout the entire AGM. Let me rephrase this. Some members did not realize that I was not running during the AGM. It was more like “you’re not running?” That was shocking. Pre-conference materials, nominations from the floor (with names of candidates posted on the screen), candidate forum, and speeches… and still some members did not know I was running. I’m not sure if I was suppose to campaign to my colleagues that I was not running, but I was humbled by the kind words that many people had to say.

The other weird experience that I had during the AGM was being outside of the campaign. This was the first time in many years that the BCSTA had an election for the position of President. I’ve seen one other election for the position of Vice-President. Most times it’s an election for the position of Director. Strangely again, there were very few candidates for the position of Director. Not going to lie, I felt great not having to campaign throughout the weekend, think about what strategies to take to woo the voting membership, and stand on stage to the judging eyes of my colleagues. This was exactly what I was trying to avoid for the last month because I wanted to spend more cognitive time with my dissertation… and I did. The election campaign for President was even more interesting. Personally, I was conflicted. I did not have neutral feelings, but I did not have a clear “winner” in mind either. For me, it was a neck-and-neck race. Members would come up to me to ask if I had any information to impart to sway their vote because I knew the candidates relatively well from being on the Board of Directors with them for the last two years. Long story made short, I had nothing to offer to bring solace to sway their vote.

Before the AGM, I anticipated that there would be 3 clear tribes within our membership… those who supported one candidate, those who supported the other candidate, and those who were undecided (like me). The AGM was a struggle for me. On the one hand, I was wrestling with the whole notion of not running and fielding questions of why I was not running (e.g. complete my dissertation and defend). On the other hand, a president and the other positions of vice-president and directors had to be decided. I must admit… it got ugly. When people started engaging in the politics, it just wasn’t the same. What do I mean by that? Aside from people looking for some information on one candidate versus another, others would approach me to tell me which candidate they were supporting and/or endorsing. This was fascinating to me. I was confident that they were clear with their why and their vote, but I was undecided. Sounds strange, I know. I should know, right? Not the case. As a result, I felt like I was perceived to be supporting “the other candidate” if I did not agree. That was telling to me, in the big picture… about politics, self-interest, and integrity.

My local school board knew how I felt. They could see my internal conflict. What I love about my board is that we can have a team huddle where some members of my board had a candidate that they were fully supporting and some were undecided like me. We discussed the candidates and the election the day before the vote. I love how we could be candid with each other, but no personal crap (aka. drama) got in the way. It’s a level of mutual respect that I truly love and not take for granted. By election day, I was still undecided. In my mind, it was still 50/50. Because of this, my board offered me one of our four votes. There were five of us at the AGM. This was the kindest gesture I could of imagined. They mutually decided the three votes and I was given one for myself to decide. I was overwhelmed with the decision but wanted to make one. That said, I was not big and bold enough that I could completely step away from the vote even though I imagined I would have.

The dilemma persisted up until the ballots were collected and I did not vote in the end. I get it… that’s not a spoiled ballot and the title of the blog is somewhat misleading. That said, it’s very much like a spoiled ballot because the ballot would not count. Either way, it felt good not to vote. I could not decide and unintentionally, I didn’t. My conscience is free from making that decision and luckily the outcome was not within a one-vote difference. I would have felt horrible if that was the case. I am a firm believer in the democratic process and believe that every vote counts. I was happy that the assembly decided which candidate they wanted as their president and vice-president. Looking at the numbers, both rounds of voting were relatively close. The decision was not easy to make and I empathize. I truly do. Overall, I am very pleased the 2017/18 BCSTA Board of Directors as a whole. I look forward to all of the work that is set upon them by the membership at AGM. I wish them all of the best and hope that they will do their best to represent membership boards in the province as well as advocate for quality public education in BC.

I loved my work on the BCSTA Board of Directors. I loved being the liaison of the BCSTA Legislative Committee this year and BCSTA Education Committee (now renamed the Professional Learning Committee) for two-years previous. I am grateful for the people I have met as the VISTA Branch and previously the Metro Branch Liaison… and I am honoured to be part of the BCSTA Learning Guide (a curriculum for school trustees and boards of education) Working Group Committee. I would absolutely agree with Past President Teresa Rezansoff who said to the 2016/17 Board of Directors that we have left many fingerprints behind. We did. Thank you to all of the BCSTA Staff and kudos to our CEO Mike Roberts for all the work he has done with the Board of Directors to steer our organization along.

This was an excellent BCSTA AGM. I loved connecting with trustees from around the province as we move forward together to improve public education for all students in our communities via governance, policy, and decision-making. Being on the Board of Directors was an awesome experience and I am honoured to have represented boards of education over the past few years. Now that it’s the day after AGM, there is no question in my mind that I made the best decision for me.