New Kings County school board member Donna Johnstone, left, signs her oath of office in the presence of Kings County Registrar of Probate Susan Campbell-Baltzer. - John DeCoste
By John DeCoste
At the annual board meeting Nov. 7 in Berwick, the Annapolis Valley Regional School Board unanimously re-elected Lavinia Parrish Zwicker to another term as board chairwoman.
Parrish Zwicker - a Lockhartville, Kings County resident who represents the eastern portion of Kings County, including Wolfville - was the only nominee for the position and was elected by acclamation.
Susan Ritchie was acclaimed vice-chair and Jackie Foster was acclaimed as the third member of the board executive.
First elected to the former Kings County school board in 1994, Parrish Zwicker assumed the position of board chair in April 2006, following the death of former chairman Terrie Spinney.
She was re-elected to the position by her fellow board members in November 2006. The coming year will be her seventh consecutive one-year term.
“I’m definitely looking forward to it,” Parrish Zwicker said, following the Nov. 7 meeting. She sees herself as “an elected board member who has been elevated to this position by my peers. I feel the chair has to work both with and for the board. I feel it’s a great honour to be asked to fill the position of board chair.”
As for major challenges facing the AVRSB in the coming year, Parrish Zwicker said working together cohesively as a governing body to provide the best solutions for students in the AVRSB would be the priority, along with continuing “to ensure we provide the best public education possible within the parameters we’re given.”
She stressed, “there are some very exciting things happening in public education. We want to ensure that excitement continues to move forward.”
During the coming year, the board will continue to be concerned with the impact of funding reductions, maintaining and reducing class sizes, maintaining the current range of program options to ensure student success, increasing demand for support for students with special needs, and addressing declining enrollment numbers.
At the Nov. 7 meeting, 13 of 15 board members were sworn in for a four-year term, including three new members.
Donna Johnstone (in Kings County) and Philip VanZoost (in West Hants) were both elected to the board in the Oct. 20 election. Marilyn Perkins has been appointed by the Minister of Education as the board’s Mi’kmaq representative.
Charlene Davies, acclaimed to the board in District 6, was not present at the meeting and will be sworn in at the earliest opportunity.
The board will also hold a special election to fill the vacancy in District 3, the Annapolis Royal area, after no one put their name forward to contest the seat in the recent election.
Superintendent of Schools Margo Tait said a firm date for the special election had not yet been decided, but it would likely be held early in the New Year. The date will be made public at the December meeting of the board.