There will be one more vacant seat up for grabs in the upcoming Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows Board of Education election as Pitt Meadows trustee Kathie Ward has opted not to run for reelection.
Ward made her announcement on Monday, saying she instead plans to spend more time with her family and focussing on her job working for an environmental testing company.
“This hasn’t been an easy decision,” she said. “But the last term has been difficult for me, and I think its time I step away from politics for a while.”
Ward has spent nine years as a school board trustee, including one year as board chair in 2009.
However, tensions between Ward and board chair Ken Clarkson and trustee Stepan Vdovine have been evident at school board meetings this term.
“I don’t fit, to put it mildly,” Ward said. “I think there has been a clash of personalities with some members of the board. Sometimes I think it’s personal.”
Ward said she had briefly considered running for Pitt Meadows city council, but opted instead to spend more time with her husband and two daughters. However, Ward hasn’t ruled out a return to politics in the future, and said she will be supporting Deb Walters in her bid to become mayor of Pitt Meadows.
Ward thanked Pitt Meadows residents for supporting her for the past nine years, and said she was most proud of her work helping parents navigate the public education system.
“I believe I have represented them well,” she said.
Ward has long served as chair of the school district’s anti-vandalism committee, and said it has been gratifying to see vandalism decreasing across the district.
“I think everyone involved has done a lot of work to bring the problem to light and work with stakeholders to put together solutions,” she said.
So far, only three incumbents on the board have announced their intention to run for reelection: Trustees Eleanor Palis and a Susan Carr, as well as board chair Ken Clarkson. Trustees Dave Rempel and Mike Huber have yet to declare their candidacy, while trustee Stepan Vdovine has opted not to seek reelection.