School board hosts meeting for prospective trustees

Listening skills, open mind required: board chair Mike Murray.

Mike Murray is Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school board chair. (THE NEWS/files)

The Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows school district is hosting an information session Monday for prospective trustee candidates in the fall election.

The session will be held at the District Education Office, 22225 Brown Avenue in Maple Ridge, at 6 p.m.

School board chair Mike Murray, who has been on the board for seven years and will be running again in the Oct. 20 local election, said there’s four distinct roles trustees play: listening, governing, planning and advocating.

“First thing is come with an open mind to listen and learn a lot. In order to make a good decision, you have to know what’s going on in the system and see the challenges faced,” he said about the information system.

Murray said an important part of the school board involves talking with students about their education and working with them to find out what they like and what they would like to see.

“We spend a fair amount of time thinking about where we may need new schools, talking about what we’ve heard, and about how we can expand curriculum to better meet student needs.”

According to Murray, the role also involves having discussions with the provincial government about required resources and working as a team to listen and discuss issues before making final decisions.

“I know a board is functioning well when I hear at the end from a trustee that they’ve changed their mind about something,” said Murray.

The board will have at least four new trustee members after the fall election.

Past trustee Lisa Beare left her school board seat this past term and to run provincially and his now the minster of tourism.

Current trustee Susan Carr is also leaving the school board to run for Maple Ridge council, while Ken Clarkson and Eleanor Palis have both said they will no seek re-election.

“If you have an interest in running, speak to your current trustees who can provide insight into what’s involved,” Murray said.

He added that good trustees are those who listen well, care about kids, and are open to all aspects of the school system.

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