Chilliwack School District Trustee Heather Maahs (right) speaks to the board prior to the election of board chair, while Trustee Willow Reichelt listens. Both trustees were nominated for board chair on Oct. 30, and Reichelt was elected. (YouTube/ Chilliwack School District)

Chilliwack School District Trustee Heather Maahs (right) speaks to the board prior to the election of board chair, while Trustee Willow Reichelt listens. Both trustees were nominated for board chair on Oct. 30, and Reichelt was elected. (YouTube/ Chilliwack School District)

Reichelt earns Chilliwack school board chair role as positions change at table

Election was spurred as former board chair Coulter awaits provincial election results

The Chilliwack School Board will be chaired by Trustee Willow Reichelt for the next year, following board elections last week.

Reichelt was elected by the board in a secret ballot on Oct. 30, and replaces Dan Coulter, who has chaired for the past two years. Jared Mumford was named the board’s vice chair by acclamation, replacing David Swankey, who has chaired for the past year.

Coulter stepped down from chair as he is awaiting the final results of the provincial election. He was a BC NDP candidate for Chilliwack MLA, and is the preliminary winner as the mail-in votes are still uncounted. If his lead holds, he will replace incumbent BC Liberal MLA John Martin and will also be stepping down from the school board entirely.

As for the board elections, there was only one vote to be had, for the four positions they voted on and that was for board chair.

Mumford nominated Reichelt for the position. Trustee Darrell Furgason nominated Swankey, who declined. Furgason then nominated Heather Maahs.

Both nominees were given time to speak about why they would make a good board chair.

Reichelt quickly stated that as a teacher and parent in the district, she has a “lot of good ideas” for the district. She also said she had ideas to make the board meetings run more smoothly, including a better process for bringing motions to the table.

READ MORE: Chilliwack teachers issue vote of non-confidence in school board after ‘bizarre move’

Maahs spoke to what she feels a good chair of the board needs to be including “someone who brings people together, who treats every single person on the board impartially without bias, who plays by the same set of rules for each and every person at the table.”

She added “the board chair needs to be someone who understands what leading a board looks like” and is not “divisive and not combative.”

After Reichelt was voted chair, they moved onto vice chair nominations.

Swankey nominated Mumford, while Barry Neufeld nominated Maahs. Maahs declined and so Mumford was acclaimed.

For the BCPSEA provincial councillor, Mumford nominated Maahs while Neufeld nominated Furgason. They both declined.

Swankey nominated Mumford, who was acclaimed.

They also choose an alternate for the position. Swankey nominated Maahs, who again declined. He then nominated Furgason, who also again declined.

Maahs nominated Neufeld and he was acclaimed.

For the position of BCSTA provincial councillor, there was just one nomination. Mumford nominated Swankey and he was acclaimed.

Finally, for the BCSTA alternate, Swankey again nominated Furgason who declined, and then Maahs who declined. Mumford then nominated Reichelt, who accepted the nomination and was acclaimed.

The meeting is available to view on the Chilliwack School District’s YouTube channel and in the link above.

The board’s next public meeting is on Nov. 3 and the public can participate online by registering beforehand. The meeting will include a budget committee report, budget timelines, a quarterly financial report and a report on some drinking water issues in the district that are being addressed.

There will also be a vote on a new trustee report policy being created, which will guide what trustees use their time for when delivering reports.

READ MORE: Coulter confirms plan to resign from Chilliwack school board if elected


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