Retired professor Deborah Bordignon is re-entering the realm of education with a run for a Whistler school trustee position.
"I want to be able to bring forth the expertise I have, which is multifaceted in both private and public education, and I want to be able to put it to work for the needs of the public here in the Sea to Sky," Bordignon said.
A former communications prof, Bordignon believes her experience and expertise will help improve collaboration between the school district and the public.
"I feel that when I looked at the role and spoke to trustees that were already on the board, that collaborative communication is the No. 1 thing that school trustees need to have in order to work effectively," she said.
Bordignon's platform focuses on three main topics: food security, mental health and physical wellness, and guiding students to careers and post-secondary education.
“Mental health and food security are two big issues at the board level, and then the other thing is that I'm going to add another layer of expertise," Bordignon said.
"It's not talked about enough, and it's really a societal problem. We are a resort community, but it's not just in the Whistler area—the whole Sea to Sky district that is affected by this.
"After all we've been through in the last while, it's imperative we increase resources. This is where building stronger ties with VCH (Vancouver Coastal Health), WCSS (Whistler Community Services Society), and other non-profit organizations, such as the Whistler-founded Kelty Patrick Dennehy Foundation, are all top of mind."
Bordignon has lived in Whistler since 2013 and is an active volunteer in the community, lending her time to the Myrtle Philip Community School hot lunch program, the Whistler Writers Festival, Cornucopia, and the Whistler Skating Club.
The lunch program, in particular, is something Bordignon is very passionate about, noting that poverty exists in Whistler, and many children need to have lunches provided due to food insecurity at home.
"We live in a beautiful place, with a big problem of poverty and lack of affordability or access to housing. This puts a huge strain on parents and teachers," she said. "We need to make nutritious food affordable for parents and available daily for the students in our schools across the district."
Additionally, Bordignon wants to build on the previous trustee board's success in bringing down suspension rates and increasing graduation rates with the Pathways to Learning strategic plan.
"I just want to add another level of expertise in communicating the public interests," she said.
Seven school trustee positions are up for election in SD48: two each in Whistler and Squamish, one in the Village of Pemberton and one each in Electoral Areas C and D of the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District (Area A and B are in School District 74).
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.
Bordignon joins Cynthia Higgins and longtime school trustee Rachel Lythe on the ballot for Whistler.
More information on school trustee elections can be found here.
Check back with Pique for profiles on all local election candidates in the coming weeks.
Whistlerites head to the polls on Oct. 15.