A longtime teacher and former union official is pledging to make educators one of her main priorities if elected to the board of the Sea to Sky School District.
April Lowe has declared that she will be seeking one of the two seats in the school district board that have been set aside for residents of Squamish.
On Sept. 1, Lowe said that she believed her lifelong experience as a student, teacher and union official in School District 48 would be her main selling point to voters.
Up until her retirement in June, Lowe was the president of BC Teachers' Federation Local 48, the Sea to Sky Teachers' Association.
In the political sphere, she helped organize the Stop the Infill movement that raised concerns about municipal policies that could potentially increase density in the Garibaldi Estates and other legacy neighbourhoods.
As a candidate for school trustee, she is leaning on her experience as a lifelong participant in School District 48 — first as a student, then a teacher, then a union representative.
"I think my biggest platform is the experience and knowledge that I'm going to bring to the position," she told The Squamish Chief.
"I'm not coming with any kind of agenda, apart from a love of education."
She said there were a number of issues with the education system, but it's unclear how much power a trustee has in changing them.
"I don't know how much control a trustee would have over some of the things in education that are not working," said Lowe. "Like one of the things in education right now is that we have a massive shortage of teachers. And I don't know, as a trustee, how that can be addressed because the shortage is well beyond Sea to Sky."
The shortage is not just of teachers, but of general manpower and it's causing burnout, she added.
She said that if she could find a way as a trustee to help alleviate the problem, it would be something she'd focus on.
"The teachers are the ones that have the most immediate impact on our students," said Lowe.
"And so, if we want to make an effect on our students…if we want to make a difference, we have to… take care of our teachers."
She also advocated for providing opportunities to all students, so they can have open doors for whatever path in life they choose to take after they leave School District 48.
"If we make those decisions to pigeonhole kids, that we do them a disservice," Lowe said.
"When they leave Grade 12, every student should have the choice to pursue whatever it is that they want."
She added that as a trustee, she would be open to listening to concerns from all.
"I believe that it's the role of the trustee to listen," said Lowe. "And I think I can bring to the table a lot of experience, a lot of knowledge."
The municipal election, which includes the vote for the school board, occurs on Oct. 15.