Name: Ken Clarkson
Occupation: retired teacher
Q1. What experience do you have in public education?
1: Qualifications: a master’s degree in education; 33 years teaching K-7, the last 12 as a visual arts/teacher librarian; I served as a Simon Fraser University instructor and presented numerous workshops to teachers; throughout my career as an educator, I felt a professional duty and calling to work on a multitude of Maple Ridge Teacher Association committees, most with an emphasis on professional development; three years as a school trustee, one as vice-chair, the past two as board chair.
Q2. Why should you be elected to the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Board of Education?
2. When I go into schools, people tell me about the increase in morale due to the leadership provided by our board. They tell me the consultative, collaborative and thoughtful actions of our board have an impact on the delivery of education to children. Our education partners, parents, teachers, administrators and the support staff, tell me how much they appreciate the improved culture across our district. They welcome our open and inclusive approach, in which they feel their concerns are listened to and acted on. Enabling a broad range of opinions to be expressed makes us stronger. In seeking solutions, more options mean more opportunities. Positive relations provide for open discussion and enable us to come to decisions that work for kids. When the adults, in a child’s world, respect one another and create an environment of trust, recognizing inclusive decision-making creates better results, the child benefits from the process and improved student achievement is realized.
Q3. What do you feel are the most important issues facing public education, and how do plan to address those issues as a school trustee?
3. Generally, underfunding of public education, especially in the area of special education, declining enrollment’s impact on maintaining programs, an inept bargaining system and a lack of local control puts a strain on relationships. Maintaining and building trusting relationships strengthens the public education system, providing the best opportunity for student achievement. While our budget challenges are real and very problematic, the consultative and collaborative approach we have created is acknowledged and appreciated by our partnership groups. Specifically, in Maple Ridge, much of the work has been done to realize a new elementary school in the Albion area. I will continue to advocate the provincial government for this much needed facility.