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Hiring Superintendent, policy updates, and budget primary concerns for new SD57 Board Chair

Tuesday (Nov 28) was internal election night for School District 57’s board of trustees.

About 30 minutes into the meeting, Craig Brennan, who served as Vice-Chair last year, was promoted to the role of Chair, while Erica McLean was named the new vice.

In an interview with My PG Now, Brennan was excited to begin work on the 2023-24 school year, starting with the hiring of a new Superintendent.

“We are going to continue this work right through this month,” he said. “Obviously once it is completed, an announcement will be shared.”

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Brennan had to stay tight-lipped on how the search has progressed because it is a personnel issue, but at Tuesday’s meeting trustees spoke about short-list interviews that would be held in the early weeks of December.

He assured people the search “is moving forward and we are really excited with the process.”

The District has been without a permanent Superintendent since spring break, when the board elected to remove Cindy Heitman from the position. Since then, Indigenous Superintendent Pam Spooner has filled the role on an interim basis.

Brennan mentioned he would like to “thank Spooner for her leadership and dedication” over the bulk of the calendar year.

Two other large topics Brennan said he is looking forward to tackling are policy reviews and managing the 2024-25 budget.

“This year we will be reviewing a number of policies on an ongoing basis, with the goal that we will have a complete review of all policies within our term,” he said. “That gives us this year and two more years to have all the policies reviewed and updated as needed. That is an enormous job.”

Last year, SD57 had to cut $1.7 million from the budget, with the looming threat of more cuts having to come the following year.

Facing this reality, Brennan simply said their main goal is to improve student achievement.

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“The budget cycle is a process that will occur in the next coming months, we will be looking at priorities, innovations, examining those and discussing them with our partners, rightsholders, stakeholders, students, and the greater community,” he said.

“It is a very detailed and rich discussion. It is always easier when there is more money than less money – if we do find ourselves in a situation where there isn’t enough money, that’s where you have to look at things.”

While these are three of the main tasks, Brennan was clear these aren’t their only tasks.

Brennan replaces outgoing board chair Rachael Weber, who voluntarily stepped down and cited her hopes to be elected as a BC Conservative Party MLA as the reason why.

He did say if she wanted the chair again, he does not think he would have ran against her for the position.

Brennan started his career in School District 57 in 1981 as a student teacher, and became full-time in 1982. He remained working in SD57 until 2021.

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