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School trustee stepping down
After a career spanning 19 years as a school trustee, Connie Denesiuk has decided it’s time to move on.
By Monday, Connie Denesiuk will no longer be president of the B.C. School Trustees Association, and she will starting on her final months as a trustee for the Okanagan Skaha School District.
“I am leaving at a good time, because I still love it,” she said. “I think it is important to leave before it gets stale and I am still enjoying every moment.”
Following elections at the BCSTA annual general meeting this weekend, Denesiuk will remain on the board of directors as past-president, but just until November, when she won’t be standing for re-election as a local school trustee.
“I’ll be sad to say goodbye to the people and the great opportunities that I’ve had as a school trustee, but I feel that I am ready to move on,” she said.
Denesiuk was first elected as a Summerland School District trustee in 1992, prior to the 1996 amalgamation with the Penticton School District.
“I had four kids in the system at that point, in three different schools,” said Denesiuk, who was a Parents Advisory Council co-chair when she was asked to run in a byelection for the school board.
“I had no idea what was involved … but what I did understand was that I could have a voice and influence public education in Summerland,” she said. “I have absolutely loved it, which is why I have been doing it for such a long time. There is nothing more important than public education, equipping the next generation of leaders with high-quality education.”
She won that election, and continued to win, serving as chair for nine years, one in Summerland and eight more after the districts combined to form Okanagan Skaha, until about a year before she became president of the BCSTA
“I didn’t want to let my name stand as chair anymore,” said Denesiuk, adding that she didn’t want to shortchange either job.
But Denesiuk said her work at the provincial level has been informed by work going on work and programs going in Okanagan Skaha.
“We have leading-edge programs in this district and that has been helpful to me in discussions because I know what can be,” she said. “I am able to draw on the good examples we have in our district when I have discussions with the education minister or other provincial leaders.”
In turn, while she said she hasn’t used her position to gain undue influence for Okanagan Skaha, she has been able to give her home district advice direct from the provincial level.
“When we have community connections grants, I think it has been helpful, because I am well aware of those processes and what we need to do to access them,” she said.