Former school trustee jumps on board with Okanagan college

Former Okanagan Skaha district school trustee Connie Denesiuk, from Summerland, appointed to Okanagan College board.

The new face on the Okanagan College board will be very familiar to those in educational circles in town.

Connie Denesiuk, a long-time Summerland school trustee, has been appointed to the college’s board by the B.C. government, with her term ending on Sept. 30, 2013.

Denesiuk served on the Okanagan Skaha School District board of education for 19 years — nine of which were in the capacity of chair. She also recently finished a three-year term as president of the B.C. School Trustees’ Association.

“After many years of involvement in governance of the K-12 education system, I am excited to now have the opportunity to engage in post-secondary education as part of the Okanagan College governance team,” said Denesiuk.

“I have always admired the strong connection between our communities and Okanagan College. Okanagan College stands out as a very responsive organization, and I am extremely pleased to join the board.”

She currently sits on the Summerland Asset Development Initiative and the Summerland Chamber of Economic Development and Tourism. She’s a partner in R. Denesiuk Construction, a family business that she has run since 1980 with her husband.

“My own earliest post-secondary experience was continuing education business courses, while my husband Bob worked through a four-year carpentry apprenticeship, both through Okanagan College. The result has been a construction business partnership that continues today, more than 30 years later,” she said.

Okanagan College board of governors chair Lance Kayfish said news of Denesiuk’s appointment was “welcome.”

“She brings a wealth of experience on the provincial and national scene and a well-honed sense of governance,” he said. “She also understands far better than most the intricate and vital relationship between the K-12 system and Okanagan College.”

Denesiuk’s appointment came in concert with the reappointment of Tom Styffe, who has served on the board since 2010 and currently serves as vice-chair. His appointment has been extended to Dec. 31, 2015.

Styffe is a resident of Okanagan Falls, and is semi-retired after a three-decade career in construction project management. He’s serving his second term as an alternate director for the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen and has been active in municipal and provincial politics, including serving as a councillor for Logan Lake.

Styffe and Denesiuk join appointed members Bill Cooke, Loretta Swite-Ghostkeeper, Doug Manning, Yvonne Pinder, Sunddip Nahal and Kayfish on the board. Elected members from college constituencies include Michael Conlin, Lianne Rozniak, students Michael Marino and Ross Saunders as well as ex-officio members Jim Hamilton (college president) and Rick Gee (college’s education council chair).