School District No. 74 has opted to continue with its co-chair model for the board of education, and last week re-elected Lillooet trustee Valerie Adrian and elected Ashcroft trustee Vicky Trill as co-chairs. Former co-chair Carmen Ranta of Cache Creek decided not to run this year.
“I’ve been the chair, vice-chair, or co-chair for 10 of the past 14 years,” says Ranta. “I’ve been asked to sit on some provincial committees that are taking my time, and I want to expand on some of the grant opportunities that Cache Creek is achieving outside the work of a school trustee. Our applications for community funds aren’t at the level of other communities.”
Another reason she chose not to run was to allow other people to have the opportunity to be co-chair. “It builds understanding and creates more strength for the board. I’m excited for change, and hope [Trill] enjoys it as much as I have.”
“I’m excited, and was happy to let my name stand as co-chair,” says Trill, currently in her first term as a trustee. She says she has been taking extra training, and hopes to use her learning to keep the good work of the board going.
“I feel we’re really making a difference, coming along in leaps and bounds, and I’m really proud to be a part of it. The more I can contribute to that, the better.”
The co-chair model adopted by SD74, now in its third year, is unique among provincial boards of education, but Trill says there is a precedent for it in other organizations. “It’s an excellent model to follow; a more balanced model of chairing. It shares the load, and uses people’s talents accordingly.” She is also pleased that one of the co-chairs brings a First Nations perspective to the table.
“The co-chair model has been successful in all the organizations I know of,” continues Trill, noting that there is a “lot of buzz about it” in other school districts that have heard about it. Ranta confirms this.
“I’ve talked to a lot of board chairs across the province and across the country,” she says. “We’re really breaking new ground, and doing something really innovative. It’s more of a team-type model than the traditional one, and it’s been working very well in our district. I like it. Teamwork is essential to bring out the best in everyone.
“I still love trustee work; I’m still committed, still excited about it. The district is in a very good place right now.”
Trill agrees. “I’m very pleased. We’ve been advocating on behalf of the individual needs of districts, and the government seems to have heard us. I hope we can continue to bring the board forward and advance our strategic plan.”