LETTER: CMSD82 trustees not listening to their communities

Coast Mountains School District’s mission statement is as follows: “Coast Mountains School District supports learners in achieving success and realizing their potential as educated citizens.”

I am not sure how they feel they are following this mission statement when they support a decision unilaterally made by the Superintendent to demote three of the most incredible administrators that I’ve ever met.

My background is that of a former Teacher on Call and short term contract holder in this district. There were many reasons I stopped teaching but one was that the environment at our board office was too political for me. It evidently hasn’t gotten any better in the 21 years since I’ve left.

I worked in every school in Terrace and even drove to Kitwanga to work on call. I did not work with Cory Killoran, Pamela Kawinsky or Phillip Barron but they were starting out in their careers around the same time as I was.

I have known Cory for over 40 years. We went to school in Thornhill and Terrace together and then attended UVIC at the same time. He has always been a completely honest, stand up friend. I was pleased to hear that he was moving to Skeena from Thornhill as I knew my kids would be looked after and I would have a familiar face in the office if needed.

I have known Phillip for approximately 12 years. He was initially a client at my husband’s skate sharpening business and then grew to become a friend. My children both went through Skeena and Phillip was always available to help in situations that needed his expertise. I have grown to become friends with both Phillip and his wife, Mary-Anne. Our daughters’ have danced together for 7 years and this has brought us even closer.

I have known of Pam for approximately 30 years as she also grew up in Terrace. I have known her as an incredible administrator since she took the position as Principal of Suwilaawks where my children both went.

She goes above and beyond for her students on a daily basis. They know that even if it feels like no one else is looking out for them…Mrs. Kawinsky is. The growth in the community in that school has been amazing to watch. The pride developed by students and their families is inspiring.

The contracts signed by these administrators do say that they can be moved to other positions and moved back into the classroom. I understand that. The part that I don’t understand is the WHY.

Why are three incredibly talented administrators being taken from the jobs and students that they love and care for and being placed somewhere else?

The Board of Education values, available at this link, states that they treat everyone with respect and fairness and that they are honest, transparent, accountable and ethical.

They have NOT treated Phil, Cory, Pam and their families with respect and fairness and they have NOT been transparent in this process. If the Board of Education cannot follow the values that they agreed upon it certainly explains why they aren’t able to be accountable to us, the taxpayers.

A quote taken directly from the BC School Trustees Association website is “School trustees listen to their communities…”

I implore the trustees of CMSD 82 to do just that and listen to your community. This change is not in the best interest of our children.

Shauna McGinlay

Terrace, B.C.

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