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School board candidates speak out

In their own words
Voting for school board trustees takes place Oct. 15 (File photo)

Jacqueline Reed is running for Engen, Mapes, Vanderhoof and Cluculz Lake on the school district 91 board of trustees

I am from Vanderhoof. I have two sons and like me, they have gone to elementary and secondary school in our community.

I am a family and child protection lawyer with 10-plus years of experience in provincial and supreme courts. Prior to family law, I was a crown prosecutor.

Before I commenced my legal practice, I consulted with various indigenous communities to draft and implement social development policies. Further, I have extensive experience in teaching at a post-secondary level.

The biggest issue is the inclusion of indigenous history and 2SLGBQ+ curriculum. My approach to addressing these two issues would be to consult with teachers, students and parents to determine their needs/concerns and then work to develop a policy to support that curriculum.

My relevant skill/experience that I can bring to the school board is my role as a mother. I know that each parent wants nothing but the best for their child in their education journey. I can certainly relate to that. As a professional, my relevant/experience is my ability to find common ground with parties with diametrically opposed interests.

Daniel Albertson is running for SD 91 School Board for Engen, Mapes, Vanderhoof and Cluculz Lake.

Hello, my name is Daniel Albertson. I own and operate a small business. I grew up in Vanderhoof and love my hometown. I have five children (two have already graduated), and I’m married to the love of my life.

I have volunteered and served for several years as a Scouts Canada leader and a church youth leader for 20+ years. As a small business owner, I know how to stretch dollars and make the best use of them and that tax dollars are to be used with taxpayers’ interests in mind.

The biggest issue is that I believe our schools are being used to push political and social agendas and parents/taxpayers are being ignored.

To tackle this problem, I will apply these principles and values:

ParentsVoiceBC candidates (of which I am one) believe parents/taxpayers should have priority in decisions made for their children’s education.

We believe in transparency and openness.

We believe it’s possible to listen to opposing viewpoints, agree to disagree and still find common ground.

We believe kindness, empathy and mutual respect are key.

I aspire to the BC School Trustees Association definition: “School trustees represent the public and advocate for public education in their community.”

If elected as a trustee, I’ll apply these universal principles and my most important skill, listening, to ensure all parents and students are heard and our schools refocus on academic excellence in a safe, respectful learning environment for all.

Nadine Frenkel is running for Engen, Mapes, Vanderhoof and Cluculz Lake on the school district 91 board of trustees

Hello, Hadih, Bonjour. My name is Nadine Frenkel and I have called Vanderhoof home for the majority of my life. My father was born in Vanderhoof and together with my mother, raised seven of their own children alongside numerous foster children. All of us attended the public school system in Vanderhoof. While attending CNC in Prince George, I met my husband, Brian. After college, we moved to Vanderhoof and began our careers, our family and have actively volunteered in the community. We raised both our children in Vanderhoof who attended public school and we now have two grandchildren attending school in Vanderhoof.

I spent 29 years of my career working within the public service, including the Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure, the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction and the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources.

The biggest issue facing local education within SD 91 is the recruitment and retention of certified teachers and support staff, as approximately 60 per cent of our workforce are over the age of 50 and set to retire over the next 5 to 10 years. The number of teachers graduating from post-secondary in B.C. is well below the numbers required to fill all the positions available in the province. The inability to recruit certified teachers will impact the equity and accessibility of public education for our learners.

As a board, we took the issue of recruitment and retention directly to the Minister of Education, bringing attention to the situation and leading to ongoing conversations between senior ministerial staff and the SD91 leadership team.

Our board was part of a Northern Branch of districts to successfully advocate for an online BC Teacher Certification program. This rural and remote UBC Bachelor of Education program started in August 2022 and is the first of its kind in B.C.

I have been a school trustee for the past eight years and bring my experience as a dedicated board member, as well as my knowledge as a co-governor with the Ministry of Education. I have been part of a team in developing a strategic plan that aligns with our mission, our vision and our goals – “achieving educational excellence in an environment that honours diversity and personalized learning.”

Carroll Walker is running for SD 91 school board for Engen, Mapes, Vanderhoof and Cluculz Lake.

My name is Carroll Walker. My wife and I live in the Vanderhoof area where we own and operate our cattle ranch and trucking business. Our grandchildren are currently enrolled in the public school system here, and I’m very concerned about the education they’re receiving, which is why I decided to run for school board trustee.

As a successful small business owner, I have had to overcome many challenging situations. I have developed the problem-solving skills required, as well as the attitude of “it can be done!” My experience on different committees over the years will be of great benefit as I adapt my skillset to the school board office.

The biggest issue facing education in SD91 is the planning and administration process. It has shown a lack of respect for the values and morals of students, their families and the community at large.

I believe a more inclusive grassroots approach is necessary. I would invite all views to be expressed and considered openly; within the confines of safety and respect for all. Parents are the biggest stakeholders and they need to be heard. We need a lot more transparency as to what is being promoted and taught in our schools. I want to make sure that parents’ voice is heard and understood in the decision-making process. Let’s make our schools safe and politically neutral environment focused on the core academics - reading, writing and mathematics - that will serve our children best as adults, rather than indoctrination into the passing political fads of the day.

Dave Christie is running for SD 91 school board for Endako, Fraser Lake and Fort Fraser

My name is Dave Christie, and I am the local trustee for Area five which is Endako, Fraser Lake and Fort Fraser. I am seeking re-election for my second term. I have extensive experience with local governments and governance boards. I currently work for the Village of Fraser Lake as the economic development officer and have been in this position for six years. I am the president of the Fraser Lake Fire Rescue Training Society, an active member of the Fraser Lake Fire Department, a wildfire mitigation specialist, a structure protection unit team leader, a firesmart community representative, past president of Fraser Lake Minor Hockey and the Fraser Lake Curling Club.

The biggest issue facing our school district is employee shortages. From bus drivers to teachers, every area is short-staffed. Our current board thanks to the hard work of the district’s senior staff identified this issue last year. School Districts are very restricted when it comes to hiring practices and compensation packages. Last March I was able to meet directly with the minister of education and her staff to put forth a recruitment pilot program that senior staff and the board developed. While nothing has been finalized, if re-elected I will continue to advocate to the minister directly for this pilot program to be implemented in our district. A School District 91-made recruitment program to support the educational system needs of School District 91.

Dave Forsberg is running for Endako, Fraser Lake and Fort Fraser on the school district 91 board of trustees

My name is Dave Forsberg and I am pleased to put my name forward as a candidate for school board trustee in the Fort Fraser, Fraser Lake, Endako area of school district 91. I am running through Parents Voice BC, an organization committed to taking back our schools to give parents their rightful place in the education system.

I am blessed to be happily married to an amazing woman, Alana, and together we have raised our children in District 91. Three of our children have graduated, with the other two in grades 6 and 5.

Our schools have been noticeably dropping in academic excellence, and there has been a dramatic increase in focus on ideologies.

I believe that action can be taken by remembering that elected officials serve the tax-paying public. I want to see a revival of the true meaning of ‘servant’ in ‘public servant’, beginning with myself.

I have talked to parents who have attempted to bring concerns to the school board and have been largely ignored to their great frustration. This I believe must change. I believe Parent’s Voice exists because of this fundamental breakdown that finds its roots in problem already stated, that we have forgotten what a public servant is. I believe our focus needs to be on academic achievement that will help give our kids the skills to critically think. Along with reading, writing, science and mathematics, a study of history is vital to learn from, and avoid making the same mistakes of the past.

I am also passionate to ensure teachers and support staff are adequately supported. Salaries, training, support, and reasonable class size need to reflect the enormous responsibility of these often thankless positions of honour.

“It takes a village to raise a child.” I believe we need to actively foster mutual involvement again. This will take the combined effort of all involved in public education, from the servants (education minister, school boards, teachers, and support staff), to the top (the parents and their children). My involvement in the music industry has helped me develop a skill set to work well in diverse group settings. I look forward to serving you, the people who elect me.

Understanding the role of a trustee is critical to student success, having an engaged workforce and enhancing connections while honouring diversity. This is a fine balance I feel not only I have but the current board does as well. An effective governance board is the foundational cornerstone of the education system.

A trustee’s job is to approve budgets, and strategic plans, set policy, govern, and advocate for continuous improvements with feedback from stakeholders (students, families, staff, and school groups). A trustee is not to write curriculum, discipline staff and students, or make comments that go against the human rights code.

Boris Gimbarzevsky is running for Fort St James, Manson Creek, Germanson and Takla Landings on the school district 91 board of trustees

My family and I relocated to Fort St James from Kamloops in May of 2021 to enjoy the more rural lifestyle while maintaining educational and recreational opportunities for our child. The beauty of our natural surroundings, the history and traditions, the rich diversity within our population and sense of community within that diversity have created a deep sense of belonging and a desire to participate and give back within this community.

I have been a physician for over 30 years, and currently operate a private practice serving Fort St James and the surrounding area. I obtained an undergraduate degree in physiology and a minor in organic chemistry, followed by a master’s degree in neurophysiology, then worked for 10 years at the UBC pharmacology lab prior to going into medicine at the University of Calgary. I went on to obtain my Internal Medicine specialty through the ABIM. My passion for education and commitment to lifelong learning, along with the encouragement of friends and acquaintances has prompted me to run for school board trustee as a way to serve our community, its teachers and its students.

I feel that in today’s competitive society, a common knowledge base in the core subjects is very important while acknowledging that children have very unique learning styles and diverse academic abilities that must be considered and accommodated. The benefit of technology within our classrooms provides enormous opportunities for learning, but should not be a substitute for basic skills that seem to be lacking in many of today’s graduates. It is not uncommon for medical students I have taught to reach for a calculator to perform simple calculations, and this among other experiences points to a departure from the traditional learning methods we once employed.

Academic excellence, vocational and extracurricular opportunities, fiscal transparency and resource allocation, parental involvement, and stability for our children in uncertain times are all key pieces to the success our students strive to achieve. It is my hope that you will trust me to sustain these critical elements while lending fresh eyes to the challenges our systems of learning currently face.

I invite parents, staff and members of our community to reach out with questions and concerns, so we can create workable solutions to specific issues. Open communication, engagement and transparency will allow us to optimize our children’s school learning experience.


We did not manage to contact some of the candidates for school board, including Mandi Davidson and Sarah John running for Engen, Mapes, Vanderhoof and Cluculz Lake; Cheryl Peterson, running for Fort St James, Manson Creek, Germanson and Takla Landings.