Harper acclaimed as school-board chairwoman; Wade elected vice-chair

Denise Harper will serve her sixth year leading the Kamloops-Thompson board of education

By Cam Fortems

Kamloops This Week

Denise Harper will serve her sixth year leading the Kamloops-Thompson board of education after the Chase-area trustee was acclaimed on Monday, Dec. 8, by the new board.

School trustees were sworn in by B.C. Supreme Court Master Robert McDiarmid in a brief ceremony before selecting their chairperson for the coming year.

Two new trustees, Joe Small from Kamloops and Shelley Sim from Clearwater, join the board following November’s civic election.

The only election for positions at the inaugural meeting was for vice-chair, won by Meghan Wade over Joan Cowden.

Wade said Harper, who represents Chase and its surrounding rural area, ran unopposed due to the confidence of the rest of trustees.

“We do have trust in her and appreciate the job she’s done to date,” Wade said.

As chairwoman, Harper is the face and spokeswoman for the board of education.

Harper said highlights she looks forward to in the coming year include opening of the new trades and technology school at NorKam secondary in February. That program will allow 32 students to simultaneously earn public-school and university credits in mechanical or construction trades.

She also said the board is helping to develop programs for at least one week of the new two-week spring break in 2015. Those programs may include math, literacy and sports camps.

“Students can pick a subject and get intensive training,” she said.

Wade said her No. 1 goal is to repair the relationship with teachers following the divisive strike through the spring and into the fall of this school year.

“We have to take the time and energy to come back together after what we experienced,” she said, adding the board must “rebuild, heal and move forward” with teachers in the district.