Former TCRSB chairman appointed to advisory council
15 people will serve on Provincial Advisory Council on Education
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.”
Former Tri-County Regional School Board chairman Michael Drew is one of the members appointed to the Provincial Advisory Council on Education.