Summerland trustee picked to lead school board

Linda Van Alphen installed in the position of board chairperson of the Okanagan Skaha School District by acclamation.

After being acclaimed last month to a fifth consecutive term on the Okanagan Skaha school board, Linda Van Alphen was chosen in similar fashion Monday to lead the group.

The long-time Summerland woman was the only person nominated in the annual trustees’ vote to select their board chairperson and was therefore installed in the position by acclamation.

She was nominated by Ginny Manning, another long-time trustee and past chairwoman, who was later acclaimed as vice-chair.

“I see this as a team — and I don’t mean that as being kind of a hoakey statement — I truly believe our board is a team, and with our senior staff I think that we’ll be able to make a good school district great,” said Van Alphen, who previously served three years as vice-chair ending in 2011.

The immediate past board chairman, Bruce Johnson, was re-elected to a second term but said he made it known to the others he wasn’t interested in staying on at the helm.

“I really enjoyed my year as chair, but my personal circumstances are such that the extra burden and travel is prohibitive right now, so I wish the new chair all the best,” he said.

“I also think it’s very healthy to change the chair around.”

Other appointments made at the inaugural meeting included Shelley Clarke to represent the board on the B.C. School Trustees Association provincial council and Manning to sit on the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association representative council.

The meeting also marked the debut of new trustees Bill Bidlake, Barb Sheppard and Julie Planiden, who join the four returning board members.