VSTA Candidates for Delegate to the BCTF AGM

This year marks the 104th Annual General Meeting of the BC Teachers’ Federation. Throughout the long history of the Federation, generations of teachers have come together every year to discuss and debate the policies and actions that have guided the organization through many challenges. As always, there are important decisions to make, and this year there are seven Local Resolutions from the VSTA.

The VSTA will be sending 17 delegates to the BCTF AGM this year. The delegates will be elected at the VSTA GENERAL MEETING on Tuesday, January 21st (following the VTF General Meeting at 4:00 pm) at Tupper Auditorium. Candidates will also be accepted from the floor of the VSTA General Meeting.

Twenty VSTA members have declared their candidacy:
Michael-Don Borason (BRIT), Lindsay Donaldson (VT), Paul Falardeau (TTOC), Talya Florian (TTOC), Treena Goolieff (VSTA VP), Oliver Kollar (CT), Connor Levesque (WC), Sylvia Metzner (CT), Karine Ng (TTOC), Sarah Ng (BRIT), Rod Ofreneo (VT), Nancy Palejko (JO), Nigel Reedman (VT), Carmen Schaedeli (PW), Katharine Shipley (VSTA Pres), John Silver (JO), Terry Stanway (VSTA VP), Jesse Taylor (MGEE), Erika Thompson (GLAD), and Kathryn Walks (JO).


Michael-Don Borason – Britannia
18.5 yrs teaching experience | Special Ed, PE, Art, Science

Van Tech: Staff Rep, WLC/B Rep, Staff Committee, Elections rep. Britannia: Staff Committee Chairperson, SAC Constitution Ad-hoc Committee Chairperson. VSTA: Health & Safety Chair, District Health & Safety Committee Co-Chair, Executive Committee Co-Chair, Member-at-Large. BCTF: AGM Delegate (10 yrs), Health & Safety Advisory Committee Member

Lindsay Donaldson – Vancouver Technical
19 yrs teaching experience

I have been a delegate for the AGM several times throughout my career, from my 2nd year to my 19th. I have had many experiences at the AGM to remember and learn from. I am putting my name forward this year as I suspect that bargaining will still be at the forefront of our discussions and debates. I will ask hard questions about strategy thus far and be cautious about what I support on behalf of my VSTA colleagues should there be a vote calling for a strike vote. I will also share the effect of the recent Jackson Arbitration on remedy and class composition in my school and what implications this may have for class composition in bargaining strategy and in the future. Thank you for your support.

Paul Falardeau – TTOC
2nd year teaching

As a new teacher, I am hoping to attend and participate in the BCTF AGM so that I can further understand the needs of teachers around the province and how our provincial democratic body runs. I hope I can bring this experience and knowledge back to our local and use it to build positive growth here in the present and future of VSTA.

Talya Florian – TTOC
2 yrs experience

As a new teacher to both the Vancouver School district and secondary public education, I am very eager to become more involved with our local union and have the opportunity to participate in active union work at a higher level.  Since the beginning of my career with the VSB in 2018, I have worked with the VSTA volunteering during political elections and have attended numerous VSTA meetings for TTOCs, EC members, as well as General meetings, so as to better understand the inner political workings of my union and my responsibility as an active member.  I am a passionate advocate for social justice and equity, and wishes to be a part of positive changes to her local.  As a new teacher with a rich background in education, I hope to bring a fresh perspective to the table as a delegate for the upcoming 2020 AGM.

Treena Goolieff – VSTA Office
17 yrs experience | Spanish, Home Ec, Social Justice 12

VSTA will be moving seven motions at the 2020 BCTF AGM.  This is the most ever and I look forward to speaking to them on behalf of VSTA teachers.  I have attended most AGMs since beginning teaching in 2002, and I hope to be elected again this year.

Oliver Kollar – Tupper
8 yrs teaching experience | ELL

I would like to represent the teachers of my local for a second year at the BCTF AGM.  I am familiar with the process and procedures of the AGM.  I want to improve working conditions for all teachers.

Connor Levesque – Churchill
2 yrs teaching experience | Science 8-10, Math 8-9

I am currently I my second year of teaching at Churchill Secondary where I teach Science and Math.  Wanting to better understand our collective agreement and relationship between staff, parents, the BCTF and the VSTA, I jumped at the opportunity to become a Staff Rep, a member of Staff Committee, and PAC Liaison this year.  Being in these roles has allowed me to build better relationships with staff and parents, and has fostered the growth of my teaching practices.
I am excited by the opportunity to put my name forward as a delegate to the BCTF AGM as it will allow me to continue to contribute to the VSTA and broaden my understanding of the workings of the BCTF and VSTA to better support my fellow educators and the students we all teach!

Sylvia Metzner – Tupper
36 yrs teaching experience | Special Education

The BCTF AGM is always an incredible opportunity to meet with teachers from across the province to discuss the future of our profession here in BC.  This year bargaining will be front of mind but I expect the climate crisis and supporting our diverse membership will also be on the agenda.  As an experienced special education teacher, I ask for your support representing Vancouver teachers at this year’s meeting.

Karine Ng – TTOC
15 yrs teaching experience | French, ELL, Mandarin, Resource

After attending the BCTF AGM as a first-time delegate in 2019, I have been activated to participate more in union work.  The experience has opened my eyes to the broad spectrum of members’ perspectives and issues we face locally and provincially as public school teachers.  If elected as a delegate, I intend to further my knowledge and deepen my understanding of our very diverse profession, in order to effect positive, lasting change. 

It would be an honour to represent VSTA members at the 2020 BCTF AGM, where I anticipate lively discussions and important decisions that will affect us all.  I thank you for your confidence and support for me to engage in the democratic practice of dialogue and debate with delegates from across the province.

Sarah Ng – Britannia
20 yrs teaching experience | Special Education, ELL, Theatre, English

I am a Teacher-Librarian, however, I started my high school career in Special Education and I have taught ELL, Theatre and English over the past twenty years.  I have served as my school’s Technology Rep, WLC/B Rep, and I am currently one of two VSTA Staff Reps.

Last year I attended my first BCTF AGM.  This year, VSTA has an important motion going forward around diversity and inclusion and I would like to be present for that discussion.

I have experienced first hand how the Union supports its members and how it strives to continually evolve and move towards being more socially just and more inclusive.  I want to be part of that dialogue, and I want to be able to work with my colleagues in creating inclusive spaces in our schools.

Roderick Ofreneo – Vancouver Technical
15 yrs teaching experience | Special Education

I am currently a Staff Rep and Staff Committee Chair and have been for the past several years.  I enjoy supporting my colleagues and being involved with the union at the school level.  I feel that the AGM will be a great opportunity to continue expanding my knowledge and experience with the union at the local level.

Nancy Palejko – John Oliver
20 yrs teaching experience | French, Spanish, Psychology, ELL

I currently teach languages and psychology. My teaching specialties include French, Spanish and ELL. I was a VSTA Staff Representative for at least 10 years, and I have been a VSTA Member-at-Large for the last 7 years. I am fully aware of the many issues facing Vancouver teachers.

In my capacity as BCTF AGM Delegate, I will listen, to the best of my ability, to the concerns brought by our provincial colleagues (believe it or not – this is a difficult task – the days are long  ;-)).   I think one of my strengths is speaking up when something uncomfortable or unspoken needs to be said. When the need arises, I will endeavor to do so.

I am a huge believer in anything that will further the quality and reach of our public education system and that will support teachers in attaining that goal.

Nigel Reedman – Vancouver Technical
12 yrs teaching experience | Tech Ed

I look forward to the opportunity to represent the VSTA members again this year at the BCTF AGM.  I have attended 4 of the past 5 AGMs, am a Staff Rep at Van Tech and President of our Tech Ed Local Specialist Association.  I find the BCTF AGM very interesting and encourage you all to put your name forward at least once during your career.

Carmen Schaedeli – Prince of Wales
13 yrs teaching experience | English 8-12

As a Staff Rep at Prince of Wales, I have enjoyed learning about our union, about the intricacies of the Staff Rep role and about the delicate balance it often requires.  I’ve come to appreciate the incredible responsibility that comes with serving as a representative.  However, after 3 years in this role, I still feel like a newbie with so much more to learn.  Attending and AGM is a goal I have had for a while and this is the year I am committed to making it happen!  I would love the opportunity to work with the VSTA team to represent our members as a local delegate.

Katharine Shipley – VSTA Office
17 yrs with VSB |FRIM, FSL, Teacher-Librarian

While sitting in a room with 600+ BC teachers during Spring Break may not be everybody’s idea of a good time – being part of the BCTF AGM is a valuable professional experience.  Our Union needs to turn its attention to the privatization agenda and to finding a way to work with the Ministry of Education to create a shared vision for Public Education. 

John Silver – John Oliver
20 yrs teaching experience

Each AGM offers us the chance to reflect upon our work and attempt to guide the path forward in our role in the education sector. Through the process of the AGM, we must strive to ensure that the learning conditions for our students is considered to be the focus of our work. This can be enhanced through not only improving our working conditions, but also advocating for what we know is best for our students.

Hopefully, by the time the AGM convenes, we will have a new contract. If this is not the case, the AGM has some important work to be done to work towards a new contract that considers the working and learning conditions for the teachers in our province.

Terry Stanway – VSTA Office
33 yrs teaching experience | Math/Science

I have been with the VSB as a Math teacher at Van Tech since 1992.  This year, I am please to serve as the 2nd Vice-President of our Association.  I believe that the forces driving change in education need to be contemplated at both the Local and Federation levels.  With respect to key decisions related to bargaining and other matters, I believe that we have established methods for obtaining the views of our members.  I would be honoured to help represent those views, on your behalf, at the AGM.

Jesse Taylor – Magee
6 yrs teaching experience | Math/Science

Over my career as a teacher I have taken on many union roles for the VSTA.  As a science and math teacher at Magee, I am currently the school’s WLC/B Rep, one of the Staff Reps, and Staff Committee Chair.  I also sit on our Professional Development Committee.  At the VSTA, I am part of the Executive as a Member-at-Large, and I am one of the EC reps to the Vancouver District Labour Council.

By taking on these different roles, I have gained a thorough and deep understanding of the role of our Union both in the workplace and in defending public education as a whole.  I am running to be elected as one of the VSTA delegates to the BCTF AGM as my diverse union experience positions me well to represent the view and concerns of the members of our local to the greater BCTF assembly.

Erika Thompson – Gladstone
2 yrs teaching experience | Math/English

As someone just beginning my career in teaching, I can already see how important it is to have a strong union fighting for the needs of teachers and students.  I can also see how crucial it is to have a membership that is involved with their union and the decisions being made.  This is why I am putting my name forward to attend the 2020 BCTF AGM.  I am passionate about issues of equity and social justice and would like to get more informed about and involved in the decision making of our Union.

Kathryn Walks – John Oliver
26.5 yrs teaching experience | English, ELL, Library

I currently chair the VSTA Professional Development Committee, am a member of the Executive Committee, and a teacher-librarian at John Oliver Secondary.  Although I have taught for over 25 years, this is my first time serving on the EC and would be my first time attending the BCTF AGM.  My interest is primarily in the area of professional and social issues and bringing a voice to teachers that are open to and willing to explore change, no matter how long they have been teaching.  My time on the EC has expanded my understanding of the concerns of teachers across the district and has deepened my respect for the tremendous work my colleagues do every day.  At the AGM, I aim to listen attentively and consider new information with an open mind and with consideration for all teachers in Vancouver.

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