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Mikalishen-Deol says capacity and labour shortage main issue facing school district

We asked all the School District 57 Board of Education candidates to fill out a questionnaire so you may get to know them a little better. We will be running their answers between now and election day.
Stephanie Mikalishen-Deol
Why are you running for trustee for School District 57?
YMCA of Northern B.C. manager of philanthrophy, marketing and camps, Stephanie Mikalishen. Bill Phillips photo
Stephanie Mikalishen-Deol

I am passionate about children and youth and our community. During my 10 years with the Y, I have been a part of so many meaningful positive experiences. I want to greater my impact for the children and youth in our community – I cannot think of a better place to do that.

What do you think is the single most important issue facing School District 57?

I believe it is a tie between our capacity and labour shortage.

What do you see as the main role of the School District 57 board of trustees?

Serve EVERY student – it is our job to make sure that they receive the BEST possible education in EVERY classroom.

Do you support the current sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) curriculum in schools? Why or why not?

Yes! I am 100 per cent for inclusive schools. This is something that I am very passionate about as inclusive communities is a corner stone of YMCA programs. I want to see the SOGI 123 strategies implemented, particularly around inclusive learning and training.

How will you ensure that rural schools are adequately funded, and represented?

Every school receives a liaison Trustee – it is that person’s responsibility to represent ALL their schools. Personally, I believe the board can improve communication going out. I think the new communications officer is a great way to do this – perhaps a social media page. Catchment and capacity need to be considered for these schools as well so that funding models are capitalized. Additionally, ensuring that these students are receiving the same program options of city schools – even if that means the district needs to off set those costs so that all children are receiving that same quality education.

If you have one pet project you would like to accomplish as a school trustee, what would that be?

Increase in LINK Funding – I am very passionate about vulnerable students. This drives my career with the Y. Or mental health supports. We’re not doing a good enough job here for our staff or students.

What do you bring to the board table that no other candidate does?

I think my biggest strengths that set me apart from other candidates are my energy, work ethic and my tenacity. I not only have ideas and passion to drive the direction of the District, but I have the tenacity and the work ethic to roll up my sleeves and do the work required to follow through.

Recruitment and retention of teachers and support staff is an ongoing issue. What are your thoughts on ways to keep the district properly staffed?

I am pleased to see the district implement dollars into a recruitment officer. I plan to continue to see this through, in addition to support partnerships with universities to promote practicum placements. Additionally, I want to see similar work done to recruit and train EAs so that every child is receiving the support that they need – and that our educators are too! I would also like to see the District work with Move Up PG so we showcase what an amazing place this is to live, work and play!

How will you try to ensure public education funding for School District 57 increases?

I am hopeful for the new funding model; however, I think it’s important for us to realize that this is and always will be an on-going piece of work for the board. When it comes to our children and youth, truly nothing is good enough. So accepting that and committing to continually advocating for all students and all student needs – vulnerable, special needs, mental health supports, rural, etc.

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