Both Yellowknife school boards will see changes in the coming term as voters cast their ballots Monday.
Longtime trustee Terry Brookes will enter his ninth term as he led the YK 1 Education District with 926 votes.
Incumbent Allan Shortt and newcomer Ozgur Oner were squeezed out, while Allan McDonald, former principal, took a seat on the board with 777.
McDonald was home watching election results as they came in until almost 2 a.m.
“I am the only newcomer and I was very pleased about the result,” he said. “It is always difficult to break onto the the playing field when the board is doing a good job and its direction is one that everyone seems to support.”
McDonald, who worked at YK 1 for 37 years during his career, said he is looking forward to providing direction for the future of Ecole J.H. Sissons School. The GNWT did some exploratory drilling on the site over the summer to determine if a new building can be built off the footprint of the current structure. Results are still to come back to the board.
“I think that the retrofit for Sissons will be the biggest item on the board’s plate during our tenure,” he said. “I think still unresolved will be whether students stay in the old school and they build a school at another site, which is closeby. I’m not sure what the ground there is like. Once you go to piles instead of the retrofitting on the old forms, I think it gets a lot more expensive.”
John Stephenson , who will be entering his fourth term, was watching the numbers last night and took part in a small gathering at the YK1 Education District office. He said he was very pleased with the results as well as the turnout by all candidates, including for school board, city council and the mayor.
“We have a new board member so the first order of business will be orientation with Mr. McDonald,” he said. “He brings a wealth of knowledge in education , including 40 years as a northern educator and a member of the teachers’ association at the territorial and national levels.”
Stephenson said immediate orders of business will be providing orientation to McDonald and continuing to provide funding for staff positions from board reserves as enrolment increases. The board also wants to get results from the Sissons site drilling effort and will need to make a decision on whether or not to extend trustee terms to four-year terms from three-year terms, after the city referendum vote.
YK 1 Education District results
Yellowknife Catholic Schools
Incumbent school board trustee Tina Schauerte led YCS board of trustees with 483 votes. Newcomers Candace Meadus and Lori MacMillan Gallant finished strongly with 454 and 426 votes, respectively.
Newcomer John Hazenberg was the only candidate not to make the seven-member board as he finished with 320 votes.
Candace Meadus, was at home and called the results “fantastic.”
“I look forward to working with that group because I think the board is in a really great place and I am happy to take part,” she said.
Meadus has been a member of the parent advisory council at Ecole St. Joseph School and has one of two sons in the Roman Catholic school system.
“I’m looking to have more of a hands-on feel for what comes directly to the board and knowing the division between the school level and the types of issues that the board sees first hand,” she said.
One of the big issues the board faces is the replacement of Superintendent Claudia Parker who announced her retirement from the role at the last board meeting.
“She left quite the legacy and one of her trademarks has been collaboration,” Meadus said. “The earliest opportunity to get somebody in to provide overlap for her corporate knowledge will be a benefit. The strength of the board’s returning members will also help to get that person up to speed.”
Schauerte, who is entering her second term called the results “very exciting” and said she waited well into the night with her husband waiting for results.
“Obviously this year will be a big year for us with Claudia retiring,” Schauerte said. “It is something we have to start right now with hiring the new superintendent. The superintendent is a major factor in the school system and we need to tackle that appropriately.”
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