Former TCRSB chair­man ap­pointed to ad­vi­sory coun­cil

15 peo­ple will serve on Pro­vin­cial Ad­vi­sory Coun­cil on Ed­u­ca­tion

Tri-County Vanguard - - NEWS - TINA COMEAU TRICOUNTY VAN­GUARD

When Michael Drew of Yar­mouth de­cided to run for a school board seat in 2016, he did so be­cause he felt he had a lot to of­fer to the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem in Nova Sco­tia and in the tri-county re­gion.

Af­ter the elected school boards were dis­solved by the prov­ince ear­lier this year, the former teacher and former chair­man of the Tri-County Re­gional School Board still had a voice he wanted to share. Now he’s get­ting that chance. Drew is one of 12 mem­bers ap­pointed to the Pro­vin­cial Ad­vi­sory Coun­cil on Ed­u­ca­tion.

The ap­point­ments were an­nounced Sept. 27.

The 12 ap­pointees join rep­re­sen­ta­tives of three-mem­ber or­ga­ni­za­tions – the Con­seil sco­laire aca­dien pro­vin­cial (CSAP), the Coun­cil on Mi’kmaq Ed­u­ca­tion and the Coun­cil on AfricanCana­dian Ed­u­ca­tion – on the 15-mem­ber ad­vi­sory coun­cil. Th­ese or­ga­ni­za­tions have des­ig­nated seats on the coun­cil. The CSAP is rep­re­sented by Mar­cel Cot­treau.

The prov­ince dis­solved the eight English elected school boards in March in keep­ing with a rec­om­men­da­tion by ed­u­ca­tion con­sul­tant Avis Glace in a re­port she car­ried out on the ad­min­is­tra­tive and gov­er­nance struc­ture of the prov­ince’s ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem. The French school board, the CSAP, re­mained in place.

An­other rec­om­men­da­tion of the Glaze re­port was to ap­point a pro­vin­cial ad­vi­sory coun­cil.

The ad­vi­sory coun­cil will pro­vide ad­vice di­rectly to Zach Churchill, min­is­ter of Ed­u­ca­tion and Early Child­hood De­vel­op­ment, and will give a re­gional and di­verse voice to de­ci­sion-mak­ing. Stu­dent trans­porta­tion is one of the first pri­or­i­ties the coun­cil will work on.

“The ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem is in a time of change and I know that stu­dents, ed­u­ca­tors and fam­i­lies will ben­e­fit from the ex­pe­ri­ence and ex­per­tise that th­ese mem­bers will bring to the coun­cil,” said Churchill. “I am pleased to wel­come them and look for­ward to work­ing closely to­gether.”

Coun­cil mem­bers will receive $600 a year plus ex­penses as re­mu­ner­a­tion, with the chair re­ceiv­ing $800 a year plus ex­penses.

More than 130 Nova Sco­tians ap­plied for a po­si­tion on the ad­vi­sory coun­cil. Asked why he put his name for­ward Drew said, “I put my name in for the same rea­son I put my name into the ring to run for school board – I wanted to have a voice and to help stu­dents and to make ed­u­ca­tion bet­ter in this prov­ince.

“It’s what I’ve done all my life and I just wanted to con­tinue do­ing that,” he added. “I dis­agree with where we are, but this is where we are, so you have to work within the ap­pa­ra­tus that’s avail­able.”

The former school board chair­man did not mince words this past win­ter when he voiced his dis­ap­point­ment and dis­ap­proval over the prov­ince’s de­ci­sion to dis­solve the elected boards. At the board’s fi­nal meet­ing in March, Drew was very emo­tional and near tears as he spoke.

“To my fel­low board mem­bers, it’s been a plea­sure,” he had said. “I’m sorry our man­date was cut short and that we were not al­lowed to con­tinue the work that we’re so pas­sion­ate about.”

School board of­fices in which staff and ad­min­is­tra­tors con­tinue to work were turned into re­gional cen­tres of ed­u­ca­tion.

Drew said he’s op­ti­mistic about the ad­vice and work this coun­cil will be able to pro­vide to the min­is­ter.

“The other mem­bers that I know on the coun­cil, they’re anx­ious to get go­ing and to start do­ing the work and help­ing the min­is­ter out,” he said, ac­knowl­edg­ing he still feels strongly about the school boards and the work mem­bers were do­ing for stu­dents. “I’m hop­ing that we can bring the same amount of en­ergy and positive change with this new coun­cil and re­ally come up with some­thing that helps our stu­dents. At the end of the day that’s what it’s all about.”

TINA COMEAU

Former Tri-County Re­gional School Board chair­man Michael Drew is one of the mem­bers ap­pointed to the Pro­vin­cial Ad­vi­sory Coun­cil on Ed­u­ca­tion.

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