Upper North Thompson school trustee Shelley Sim (l) and Rhonda Kershaw, the trustee for Lower North Thompson, discuss the issues during a school board meeting held at Clearwater Secondary School on Monday evening, May 28, 2018. Kershaw was elected to board Chair on July 27, 2020. (File photo)

Rhonda Kershaw new chair of SD73 school board

The SD73 trustee will serve as board chair until later this year

Vice-chair Rhonda Kershaw was chosen to be the new chair of the Kamloops-Thompson school board during a special board meeting held on July 27.

Currently in her third term, Kershaw was nominated by Kathleen Karpuk, who stepped down as chair due to a new position.

“I appreciate the work of Trustee Karpuk and will be continuing with the current direction of the Board of Education, namely the need for capital money from the province for more schools and to replace Parkcrest Elementary and the restart plan for September,” Kershaw said in a press release.

Kershaw first ran for school board trustee in 2011, as she felt invested because of her two young children. She said having a voice for the community is important to make sure opportunity is the same across the region.

“Equity for all students is really important,” she told the Star/Journal. “Making sure those rural students have a real voice and the same opportunities that are available in our urban schools.”

The board chair for SD73 runs the meetings and is the spokesperson for the board. Something Kershaw said is quite exciting.

“It’s very exciting that they feel I can represent the will of the board as a collective, which represents the public.”

The new position was effective as of July 27 and will continue until November of this year when a vote will be held again. The vote for a new board chair is usually done once a year, but due to Karpuk’s resignation, an interim election was called.

The board will have a busy few weeks ahead of them as they will be starting to iron out the details on the back-to-school plan put forward by the province. The Phase 2 restart plan will be established at the end of August when it will then be presented and approved by the Ministry of Education.

“The June restart was very successful,” said Kershaw. “I have a lot of confidence that when our students go back on the September restart that they’ll be safe and they’ll be well-educated.”

Kershaw is serving her third term as a trustee representing Barriere and has been vice-chair since 2018. She has served on the audit committee, the education committee of the whole, human resources (BCPSEA) and District Parents Advisory Council.

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