Shirley Wilson has served 13 years on the Abbotsford School Board as a school trustee and has been a strong advocate for providing world class, innovative, and individualized education for all students in Abbotsford. On October 20th, she re-seeks a seat on the board.
“We are entering a very exciting time in education with curriculum changes already in place for younger students, and our senior high school students about to embark on opportunities greater than ever offered before to our young people. The chance for a student to follow their passion is more achievable today, than when their parents were young. As a trustee, I find it very exciting to work with leaders in education providing direction at a high level, which then positively impacts student success”, says Wilson.
A large area of discussion in BC education has been the SOGI, a provincial wide movement in educating the youth about sexual orientation and gender identity. Shirley says, “what I know for sure is that there are two common issues in the SOGI discussion, whether you are for or against any resources: people want to protect their rights, protect their child. My commitment is to do just that – protect both. SOGI stands for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, which is about policy and protection under the BC Human Rights Act. The learning resource, SOGI 123, is what is at issue, and rightly so. It is controversial. The discussion about SOGI is combative right now and deemed as anti or pro. I am disappointed that we can’t have reasonable discussions without claims of bigotry. We need more understanding. The sides are so polarized that if we aren’t careful we will throw the good out with the bad. I think we have to get back to the needs of each unique child. Children are impressionable, and we need to be careful to respect culture of family in our community,”
Every year, Shirley presents diplomas to students who complete grade 12. She says this “has been my honour to acknowledge several thousand students as the cross the stage, including my own children. School completion is so important for a young person, and creating opportunities for students to be successful is a point of pride!”
One of her other biggest accomplishments on the Board of Education has been to represent not only Abbotsford, but the Fraser Valley trustees at the provincial level on the BC Public School Employers Association and at BC School Trustees Association. She has represented our communities at the provincial level for a few years. Importantly, since she has been elected on board, they have managed to open three schools since, when other communities were not successful. The board has been very careful with taxpayer dollars and she is pleased that they have been able to create new programs without over spending.
Shirley Wilson is currently the longest serving candidate in the school trustee election, having served four terms. She has a long history on the Board, and understand community diversity, and the changes that have occurred over the past decade. She advocates for parents and their children all the time, because she believes, “we are here to serve public, families and their children.”
As Board Chair, Shirley Wilson led board meetings, attend events and bring remarks on behalf of the Board in the public and in the media, connect community and education together, appoint trustees to various committees, meet the Mayor as needed, communicate with the Ministry of Education and staff as needed, meet with the Superintendent, and organize meetings as needed. Most importantly, she represents the Board of Education with respect and integrity.
I am proud of my time both on the Board of Education and in our community. It is a difficult time to be a parent in Abbotsford, and in BC. We all struggle to do what is best for our children, and even when we make mistakes, we know that others are also doing their very best to watch out for our children. It is not easy. We hold high expectations for our children, and that is okay. We should hold high expectations for those who serve our children. Some of use – trustees – are the gatekeepers for those who work with your children. And we strive to do what is right, what is best.
“I am a continuous learner and always looking for the best solution to a problem. I look for opportunities to improve both myself, and our system. I am always willing to make the time to listen and hear.” On October 20th, Shirley Wilson asks for on of your 7 votes for School Trustee so that she can continue serving students and parents of Abbotsford!