New faces and familiar ones for Delta school trustee

First-term trustee Donna Burke announced she is seeking re-election to the Delta board of education next month, while newcomer Brad Sherwin will attempt to win a seat for the first time.

Prior to her election in 2011, Burke, a parent of two teens, was Delta District PAC chair from 2006 to 2010. When elected, she was working with Boys and Girls Clubs of South Coast B.C., but left to devote more time to her trustee duties.

Burke is a volunteer on the board of directors for Reach Child and Youth Development Society.

"My work on the board of education and with Reach frequently gets me out into the schools and wider community, and I wouldn’t have it any other way," she said. "It is a privilege to work with people who are committed to ensuring all Delta students achieve their full potential."

Burke said underfunding of the education system is the most challenging part of working in a school district.

"Our board lobbies the government at every opportunity and our leaders do their utmost to find ways to sustain our programs."

Burke said she is especially impressed by the leadership of board chair Laura Dixon and the two trustees that were also elected for the first time in 2011.

Burke said she is hoping a silver lining from the recent labour dispute will be a heightened awareness of the importance of a strong public education system.

Burke believes that public education should matter to everyone – even if they don’t have children in the system.

"The quality of the education our neighbour’s children are getting will impact us all, socially and economically."

Since the last election, Sherwin has been actively working with parents, the current board and the district to secure transportation for many students.

He notes that in 2013, the board canceled school buses for all but special needs students in response to a 47 per cent decrease in funding from the Ministry of Education. He rallied hundreds of parents, asking the ministry to grant the board a meeting to discuss the unique needs of Delta in an effort to try and get the funding restored.

“I didn’t win the last election, but it didn’t mean I wasn’t going to get involved,” says Sherwin in a press release.

“When I decided to run in 2011, I made a commitment to my community – just because I didn’t get enough votes didn’t mean I was going to back away from that commitment,” he adds.

Sherwin is currently the director of marketing for the Credit Counseling Society, a non-profit charitable organization that helps people deal with overwhelming debt.

“My experience in the non-profit sector will be a benefit for Delta’s school board,” says Sherwin. “As part of the senior leadership team with the society, we review and discuss the overall strategy for the organization, from human resources to budgets. We have a limited budget and a lot of work to accomplish – so does the Delta school board.”

Sherwin is active in the community, volunteering for events such as the Tour de Delta, Delta Triathlon and Operation Red Nose. He also volunteers as a goalie coach for the South Delta Minor Hockey Association, despite not having any children of his own playing.


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