Margo Vaughan hopes to bridge the gap between parents, teachers and administration in her bid for a school trustee seat in the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District's (SLRD) Electoral Area C.
With a son in the education system, over the last decade, Vaughan has engaged with numerous stakeholders and found a bit of a disconnect she believes can be improved with better engagement.
“I found that there is a big disconnect, like a complete disconnect of what parents are saying and feeling and what those that are formulating the curriculum and the strategic plans are saying," Vaughan said.
“Since one of the roles of a trustee is to engage with the community, I feel it's time for some real meaningful and open, honest engagement to close this gap. The surveys once a year aren't really cutting it."
For Vaughan, the key issues are improving communication between teachers, parents and administration, and finding a balance between academics and social activities in the schools.
She also believes teachers must be better consulted when creating strategic plans and deciding classroom size and composition.
“I feel it's time that we need to start listening to the teachers and realize that they're our most valuable source of expertise when preparing the strategic plans and deciding classroom size and composition," she said.
“There's been this huge focus on studies done in other countries and other cities, and not that those don't have great value, but it's our teachers that are rolling them out and in the trenches every day that should have a bigger role in input when preparing these plans and the curriculum.”
Vaughan, 58, has called the Sea to Sky home since 1984, when she first moved to Whistler, and has lived in the Pemberton region since 2001.
She brings a range of board and volunteer experience, including the Lillooet Lake Estates board of directors and the parental advisory committees (PAC) at Signal Hill and Pemberton Secondary School, where she currently serves as the PAC district representative.
Vaughan believes the district needs to do more to retain staff in the Pemberton region, as she has seen a high turnover rate in recent years.
“We need to do way more work to attract and retain long-term full-time staff, because they are the most valuable asset; without the teachers, without the bus drivers, everything else is irrelevant,” she said.
“People naturally move and get promotions or leave on maternity leave, but they need way more support."
Three school trustee positions are up for election in SD48: two in Whistler and one in Electoral Area C of the SLRD.
Acclamations in Squamish, the Village of Pemberton and three other electoral areas have filled the remaining school trustee positions.
SD48 covers an area from Furry Creek to Anderson Lake, with 5,138 students in 15 schools. The district employs 885 staff and has a total budget of $71,844,525 as of 2022.
Vaughan joins longtime school trustee Rebecca Barley on the ballot for Area C School Trustee. (Meredith Gardner has withdrawn from the election).
More information on school trustee elections can be found here.
Check with Pique for profiles on all local election candidates in the coming weeks.
Voters head to the polls on Oct. 15.