School District 27 trustees Pete Penner (left)

School District 27 trustees Pete Penner (left)

Retiring school board trustees say their farewells

There were lots of accolades all around as the outgoing school board said their farewells at the Nov. 22 board meeting.

There were lots of accolades all around as the outgoing school board said their farewells at the Nov. 22 board meeting.

The newly elected board will be installed in a special meeting coming up Dec. 5.

The Nov. 22 meeting was particularly poignant because two of the longest serving members of the board are retiring.

District superintendent Diane Wright thanked the board for all of their hard work, recapped their accomplishments over the past three years and presented each trustee with a book called What Do You Make? written by a former district teacher Tom Hierk.

Secretary-treasurer Bonnie Roller said the five trustees leaving have almost 122.5 years of experience in education between them.

CCTA president Joan Erb expressed her appreciation for the outgoing trustees and said they would be missed.

“I wish you all the best in the future,” Erb said.

At 18 years, Pete Penner is the longest continuously serving School District 27 trustee. He was first elected as the Zone 2 trustee in 1993 after a 31-year career in teaching.

In his quietly humorous way Penner thanked the board for the good times they have had together and “some of the other times too.”

He thanked God for giving him the patience and wisdom for the job, his wife for her support, and thanked individual staff members and people in the audience with short accolades about each of them.

In thanking Erb, he noted he was wearing his Cariboo-Chilcotin Teacher’s Association button.

Except for a year break, Wayne Rodier worked as a teacher and principal for a total of 34 years.

He spent nine years teaching in Burnaby and Mission before moving to Williams Lake in 1975 and serving as teacher and principal with School District 27 until 2000. He has served the last nine years as trustee for Zone 5 and retires as the board chair.

Rodier expressed his thanks to his fellow trustees and to the district staff for their dedication, hard work, wisdom and leadership in their work to improve the art of education in the district.

Bruce Mack served six years as trustee for Zone 6.

Also retiring as trustee, Mack said he maintains an ongoing interest in education as he has two daughters who are teachers and he recognizes the importance of education in his work in community development.

Richard Elliott, who served three years as Zone 7 trustee and decided not to seek re-election, said it was exciting to see new people coming onto the board but a bit sad to lose so much experience with the trustees who are retiring.

He said the board members may not have all seen eye to eye at times but all in all serving as trustee was a good experience.

“It is a process,” Elliott said. “The staff is absolutely amazing to work with and the new board coming in just has to trust the staff.”

Heather McKenzie, who was defeated as Zone 4 trustee after serving four years on the board, expressed her thanks to the board and staff for all their years of help.

She wished Jackie Austin, the new trustee filling her seat the very best, and said she hoped Austin would continue to support rural schools and programs for aboriginal students. McKenzie, who has 17 years experience working in education with the Williams Lake Indian Band, said she would have a bit of a break, then likely start taking some courses in education.

The incoming trustees will be installed in a special board meeting on Monday, Dec. 5 starting at 7 p.m. in the district board office in Williams Lake.