Jackie Austin is running for the School District 27 seat in Zone 4.
“This is my new way of giving back to the school system,” says Austin, who spent many years as a volunteer at 150 Mile House elementary.
Austin is an administrator with Joe Augustine Contracting and her husband Mike is a financial advisor.
They have two teenagers who attend secondary school, one at Columneetza secondary and the other at Williams Lake secondary.
Austin served as treasurer of the 150 Mile House parent advisory council for a few years and also helped out with school field trips, and tutoring students in the classroom in math, reading and other subjects.
Austin grew up and went to school in Williams Lake attending Mountview elementary, Williams Lake junior secondary for grades 8, 9 and 10 and Columneetza senior secondary for grades 11 and 12. After university she returned to the lakecity.
Austin says she and her family have made their home at 150 Mile House for the past 18 years and she feels she could represent the educational interests of the Horsefly, Likely, Big Lake, and 150 Mile areas very well.
“I am very excited to become a trustee and feel I have a lot to offer,” Austin says. “I don’t expect it will be easy, in lieu of the current issues, but feel I am up for the challenge and look very forward to working with the board of education.
“Declining enrolment in our district and potential loss of budgetary protection are issues that we will immediately face, which will bring up the reconfiguration models previously discussed at the Our Kids, Our Future forums that were held in Williams lake a couple of years ago.”
But before taking any stand on reconfiguration of the secondary schools, Austin says she would need to be privy to information she doesn’t yet have as a non-board member “…although I do feel the middle school option may be suitable to address the issue of falling enrolment.”
She says she is very impressed with the district’s remote learning initiative for high school students started in the last couple of years and is a strong advocate for continued development of the district’s early learning program initiatives.
She is also an advocate for the continued development and expansion of the high school pre-apprenticeship programs with Thompson Rivers University, and providing more pre-apprenticeship opportunities traditionally for girls, such as hair dressing.
“It is an awesome program and keeps kids in school, boys especially,” Austin says.