Trio of trustees not seeking re-election

Penticton trustee says she doesn't have enough time, while Summerland representative says she's turned off by board politics

Tracy St. Claire

Tracy St. Claire

Three of four trustees who joined the Okanagan Skaha school board in 2011 will not seek re-election.

Tracy St. Claire, who topped the polls that year, said a new job meant a switch to full-time hours, and with two daughters, ages 11 and 14, at home, she simply doesn’t have enough time to devote to the work.

But she still feels strongly about the need for parents to sit on the seven-member board, which consists of four representatives from Penticton, two from Summerland and one from the outlying areas.

“When you sit there as a parent, you have a different stake in the game. When you’re doing drop-off and pick-up, and your friends all have kids in school, you hear a lot about what’s going on, and I think you bring that,” St. Claire said.

She also separately ruled out a run for Penticton city council, noting it too is “a timing issue.”

Walter Huebert, another Penticton trustee, said he’s simply ready for retirement after 50 years in the education system. That span includes 41 years as a teacher and an earlier term as a trustee from 2005 to 2008.

“I think that’s been an incredible run,” he said.

The final trustee not seeking re-election, retired Summerland teacher Linda Beaven, said she has come to learn  the board’s work “doesn’t suit me.”

“It’s the politics of it I’m not comfortable with,” said Beaven, who declined to elaborate.

“I’m going gracefully,” she said.

School board chairman Bruce Johnson suspects Beaven’s comments have to do with trustees spending more time in meeting rooms that in classrooms.

“She really enjoys working with the kids directly, and as a trustee you get to visit schools and things like that, but it’s not the real one-on-one, hands-on that she likes so much,” he said.

Johnson, who confirmed he’ll seek a second term as a Penticton trustee, suggested Beaven may have also been turned off during the teachers’ dispute, in which the board had little influence.

“But having said that,” he added, “there are so many other positive things about being a trustee, and that’s why I’ve chosen to continue on, hopefully, for another four years.”

Other trustees hoping to continue on are Ginny Manning, who represents the outlying areas, and Linda Van Alphen, of Summerland, each of whom was first elected in 2002. Shelley Clarke, who joined the board following a 2007 by-election in Penticton, is also seeking a new mandate.

The nomination period for trustees opened Tuesday and closes at 4 p.m. on Oct. 10.

Those seeking election in Summerland and Penticton can pick up nomination papers from their respective local government headquarters, while hopefuls in the outlying areas can pick up packages from the school board office.

More information is available online at



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