Monica Lamb-Yorski photo Retired principal and teacher James Ritchie is running for School District 27 trustee for Zone 5, Williams Lake fringe.

Retired educator running for SD27 trustee

James Ritchie’s main focus will be working with the board of trustees to restore communication and improve climate in the district

A retired principal and teacher who spent his career working in the Cariboo Chilcotin is vying for school trustee in the upcoming election.

James Ritchie worked for 30 years and spent the last 10 of his career as an administrator at Columneetza Secondary School before retiring in 2010.

“The district’s got a lot of problems and the teachers association expressed a non-confidence vote which led to the appointment of Mike McKay as a special advisor to the district,” Ritchie said of one of the reasons he has decided to run for trustee in Zone 5 — Williams Lake fringe.

Read more: Special advisor appointed by education minister

“I think the problems have been building over the last few years. There has been turnover of senior management.”

One of the main issues leading up to the present climate is the lack of communication between the board of trustees and senior management, Ritchie added.

“I’ve spoken to the principals association and vice principals and have heard that many feel the district is being micro-managed and they are feeling left out and stressed. It’s not a positive situation.”

He has also spoken with Canadian Parents For French and said there is a teacher shortage, while the kindergarten program has had to turn people away because it’s in demand.

Ritchie did throw his hat in to run in 2011, but was not elected.

This time around if he is successful, he said he would work together with the board to improve the climate, and get people working together.

“I think it’s a little embarrassing that we have a special advisor here. When the district isn’t functioning properly it’s not good for the students.”

Ritchie worked initially for Indian Affairs teaching at Tl’etinqox (Anaham) First Nation and then went to work for SD 27 at Puntzi, followed by 10 years at Alexis Creek. He was vice-principal at Columneetza for seven years and principal for three.

He is married to Ulla Ritchie, a retired teacher who is still working on-call.

They have a son David who lives in Wildwood.

Angie Delainey is also running for Zone 5 trustee.

Read more: Candidates officially declared for School District 27 2018 election

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