DPAC vice president steps down

Kirsten Brandreth steps down from Chilliwack district parent advisory council.

Kirsten Brandreth was disappointed with the election outcome and felt her time in the district had come to an end.

Chilliwack’s most vocal parent advocate is backing away from the school district.

After losing her bid for school trustee, Kirsten Brandreth resigned as vice president of the Chilliwack District Parent Advisory Council (DPAC) this week.

Brandreth was disappointed with the election outcome and felt her time in the district had come to an end.

“I just cannot sit there for another three years and watch ineffective trustees,” said Brandreth.

With five incumbent trustees re-elected, one former trustee elected, and one newcomer, Brandreth doesn’t hold hope for change.

“I thought we were ready for a change, and I knew I was ready for a new challenge,” she said. “But the people thought otherwise.”

Brandreth earned 1,705 votes, and came in 10th out of 24 candidates.

“I have been so heavily involved and have dedicated so many of my own personal hours to this district, and for what, no change basically,” she said.

For more than 16 years, Brandreth, a mother of two, has been supporting public education. She’s volunteered in several capacities at schools, has sat on numerous committees, was an active member on Promontory elementary’s PAC for six years, before advancing to DPAC, where she sat for the past nine years – four of which were as president.

For more than four years, she has rarely missed a board meeting, and rarely did she stay silent at those board meetings. She gave trustees and district staff praise where she felt it was due, but also did not shy away from voicing concerns.

Brandreth came under fire last year after opposing a move by the board to rename winter vacation on all district documents to Christmas holidays. She said it was insensitive to students in the district who didn’t practice Christianity.

Brandreth also laid into trustees following the last meeting before summer holidays in 2010, chastising them for their “disrespectful” and “embarrassing” behaviour towards one another.

“I’m the kind of person who will speak up where others don’t,” said Brandreth. “I have no problem asking tough questions, and I have no problem listening to the other side of the story.”

Her voice has been heard at the school, district and provincial levels.

Her goal with DPAC was to increase communication within the district, and to get more parents standing up for their children.

It hasn’t been easy.

Active membership on DPAC has consistently been low. The monthly meetings generally have representation from just a handful of schools. And as such, most advocacy falls on the shoulders of the DPAC president.

With 30 schools in the district, and more than 12,000 students, it could be overwhelming at times, said Brandreth.

“It would be great to have 10 DPAC executive members going to various meetings so that it’s not all going to be on the president’s shoulders,” she said.

“There should be more parent representation; we all bring different visions to the table.”

Brandreth also wants trustees to get more involved with parents.

“I really hope this next set of trustees have a better relationship with parent advisory councils and parents,” she said. “They have to get away from just attending social functions and get into being a part of the parent advisory councils – they need to know more about the schools.”

Brandreth is walking away from DPAC with mixed emotions.

“DPAC and parent advisory council has been my baby for 15 years,” she said. “And I will always be there to provide information and help out if needed. But it’s time for other parents to get more involved.”

kbartel@theprogress.com

twitter.com/schoolscribe33

Just Posted

Latest plan is to fly trapped fish by helicopter over Big Bar slide

Multi-pronged plan set in motion to freesalmon blocked by landslide in the Fraser River

Light trucks are being converted to gas and propane in City of Chilliwack fleet

It came to light when tenders for certain trucks were deemed non-compliant without propane option

Family of missing Chilliwack senior with dementia frustrated with situation, heartened by community support

Nine days since Grace was last seen the question remains: ‘How can an 86-year-old just disappear?’

One-day delay for trial of Chilliwack pastor facing child porn charges

Main Street Church’s former executive pastor John Vermeer set for seven-day trial

Rail group to bring plan to Abbotsford council

Group is calling for plans to run trains on rail line between Chilliwack and Surrey

VIDEO: Young couple found dead in northern B.C. had been shot, police say

Chynna Noelle Deese of the U.S. and Lucas Robertson Fowler of Australia were found along Highway 97

Hazmat incident closes down Lower Mainland street

One person is believed to be dead, police said

VIDEO: Man found dead near B.C. teens’ truck could be linked to a double homicide

RCMP said they are looking for Kam McLeod, 19, and Bryer Schmegelsky, 18, of Port Alberni

Unsealed record suggests U.S. man convicted of murdering Vancouver Island couple left DNA on zip tie in 1987

William Talbott is set to be sentenced Wednesday in the murders of Jay Cook and Tanya Van Cuylenborg

Okanagan Air Cadet challenges gender-exclusive haircut policy

Haircut regulation inspires challenge around gender identity

Pride flags stolen from Lower Mainland church

Went missing sometime Friday night, says Maple Ridge reverend

VIDEO: Bystander training gains traction as tool to prevent sexual harassment, violence

Julia Gartley was sexually assaulted after an event, and no one stepped in to help

Two brands of ice cream sandwiches recalled due to presence of metal

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency issued a recall on Iceberg and Originale Augustin brands

Sexual assaults, extortion on the rise even as crime rates stay low: Stats Canada

Rates of police-reported sexual assault rose for the fourth year in a row

Most Read