New faces voted onto Greater Victoria board of education

Deborah Nohr and Diane McNally and Edith Loring-Kuhanga voted in on Nov. 19.

Three new faces will soon be at the Greater Victoria board of education table.

Deborah Nohr and Diane McNally, educators in the Greater Victoria school district, as well as Edith Loring-Kuhanga, a trustee in the Saanich School District, were voted in on Nov. 19.

“I’m really, really thrilled,” said Nohr, a former teacher. “I’ve been at board meetings for the last three years and I continue to get the sense that we could make some really positive change, re-engaging with parents at the school level and just being more willing to create working committees on current issues and being really open and transparent with all people to make the best decisions.”

Nohr came in fourth out of 16 candidates, garnering 13,445 votes. McNally, who spent 20 years in special education in the district wasn’t far behind at 12,977 votes. Loring-Kuhanga claimed the last of the nine available seats with 11,264 votes, edging out current board vice-chair Dave Pitre by just 63 votes.

Saturday’s election came at a busy time for Loring-Kuhanga, who has been simultaneously completing a masters degree in education leadership while campaigning on a platform based on funding and class size and composition issues.

“I think before we do a lot of those things our primary focus needs to be on building relationships,” Loring-Kuhanga said. “We can’t sit down at a table and negotiate a bargain without building healthy relationships.”

After Pitre, two other incumbents failed to win re-election: Jim Holland, the founder of Island Parent Magazine, and John Young, who at 90, will be leaving his 20-year post as a board of education trustee.

Young said he was surprised he lost his seat.

“But in a way I shouldn’t be because I didn’t spend one penny on the election,” he said. “I just depended on my being well-known as a trustee to carry me forward for another term, but it didn’t work out that way.”

Young, whose background includes 60 years in the education system, is best-known for his legal efforts to eliminate school fees. He now intends to continue that work by taking on all boards of education across Canada.

“Now that I’m no longer a trustee I can aim all of my time at that issue,” Young said, adding: “You can’t deny a child an education because they ain’t got no money.”

nnorht@saanichnews.com

Results

Orcherton, Peg 15,613

Leonard, Elaine 14,742

Horsman, Bev 13,795

Nohr, Deborah 13,445

McNally, Diane 12,977

Alpha, Catherine 12,965

McEvoy, Michael 12,642

Ferris, Tom 12,600

Loring-Kuhanga, Edith 11,264

Pitre, David 11,201

Holland, Jim 11,122

Young, John 10,685

Bratzer, David 10,275

Paynter, Rob 8,137

Rand, David 5,363

Stern, Richard 5,182