A former school secretary and volunteer with the Ridge Meadows Minor Hockey Association is adding her name to the growing list for Maple Ridge school board trustee in the upcoming election.
Gladys Hewson of Hammond, who recently retired from the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows School District after 34 years, the last 22 as secretary at Blue Mountain Elementary, is hoping to be voted in on election night, Saturday, Oct. 15.
Hewson’s top priority if elected will be the health and safety of staff and students, she said.
“Students and staff deserve a safe place to learn and work. It has been proven that when we feel safe, we are able to thrive. This is a basic human need and a requirement in order to be able to work and learn,” she said.
She would also like to see more funding for student services.
“We are being told that funding for education is higher than it has ever been, yet services to students seem to be dwindling. It is a priority for me to examine this gap, understand the discord, and provide the best service to our students as possible,” she said.
Hewson’s parents moved to Haney in 1957, where her father, Stan Hammond, was employed at the newly opened Haney Correctional Institution, HCI.
She was raised in Maple Ridge, attending Alexander Robinson Elementary, Blue Mountain Elementary, Garibaldi Secondary, and finally graduating from Maple Ridge Secondary in 1971.
Hewson and her husband Jim have two sons, both journeymen with UA Local 170, and two grandsons who attend school in the community.
“I have always been an active member of the community,” explained Hewson. “As a youth, I enjoyed riding my horse on the local trails and worked with The Haney Horsemen to enhance this system.”
She helped build and maintain a trail, under the guidance of Haney Horsemen founder Bill Archibald, that ran along 244 Street north, crossing the Alouette River into Alco Park and then meeting up trail system towards Alouette Lake.
She was also registrar on the board for the Ridge Meadows Minor Hockey Association for 30 years. In 2014, she was honoured with a Life Member’s Award from B.C. Hockey. The organization noted that although Hewson held many positions during her time with the hockey association, her focus was to make hockey affordable for families and to see more children play minor hockey.
Hewson also served on the board of The International Friendship Society, an organization that helps people adopt children from Russia.
And, said Hewson, she has always been an active member of her union, CUPE Local 703, and sat on the executive board for 20 years.
Hewson ran for Maple Ridge city council in 2011, saying at the time that she was a great listener who was not afraid to ask questions in order to get answers.
A quality, Hewson says, she will be bringing with her into the upcoming race – along with being a voice for others.
Mostly, though, Hewson emphasized the importance of communicating and keeping people informed.
“The public deserve to have clear, honest, and transparent information about the running of our schools and district. They also deserve the respect of having meaningful consultation with school district officials, which will meaningfully direct the operations of our schools.
“As a school trustee, I am looking forward to working with the staff, students, and parents of SD42 to ensure the best education for our children,” said Hewson.
The Maple Ridge – Pitt Meadows Board of Education is made up of five trustees representing Maple Ridge and two trustees representing Pitt Meadows. They are elected every four years at the same time as the mayor and city council for the two municipalities.
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