A Chilliwack resident, who works as an Abbotsford teacher, is the last one to throw his hat in the ring for the vacant Chilliwack School Board seat.
Brian VanGarderen is currently working as a hearing resource teacher in the Abbotsford School District working with students who are deaf or hard of hearing.
VanGarderen says he has a deep affiliation with Chilliwack, often attending the local YMCA with his mother and getting his first job there as a swim instructor. He was also involved with the Chilliwack Stingrays as a youth and many other community events.
“My grandparent’s farm was located on Yale Road and I loved visiting them as well as and attending the Chilliwack Fair in the summer.”
He did move away, but in 2017 moved back to Chilliwack after obtaining his bachelor or arts in history and education from The Kings University in Edmonton. He is married and has a baby girl born in March 2020.
“Knowing my daughter will be attending school in Chilliwack, I want to become involved in the community and help shape the future of education for all students in Chilliwack,” he said in a statement issued on Friday (Jan. 8).
He joins candidates previously announced, Carin Bondar, Adam Suleman and Richard Procee.
“I have a strong belief in the public education system. It is a system I currently work in and have current knowledge of the challenges parents and educators face on a daily basis. I believe it is important to have an unbiased, supportive, equitable, and strong school system because that is the foundation of a strong community. All students in the education system have the right to access an inclusive, supportive, and equitable learning environment.”
In addition to working as a learning support teacher, he has worked with students with exceptionalities in the community and volunteered for the Autism Society.
“I see the impacts of decisions on our students, and remain an advocate for equitable access to a quality education that I know Chilliwack can provide.
“Our students deserve the very best in the school system and, as a community, we need to make sure that message is very clear. I believe in our students; they belong in our school system and they deserve a great education. As a School Board Trustee, I will work hard to ensure that happens.”
The general election required to replace outgoing trustee and new Chilliwack MLA Dan Coulter is scheduled for Feb. 13.
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