Edith Loring-Kuhanga hopes her experience of reconciling adverse workplaces will prove useful as the new Greater Victoria School District chairperson.
Initially, Loring-Kuhanga had no intention of running for the position of chair; she only wanted to bring a voice to the table she felt was missing.
Eventually her fellow United 61 team members convinced her she was the right person for the job.
“Out of the five of us with the United coalition, I’ve got the most experience as a school trustee,” said Loring-Kuhanga, who spent three years as a trustee in Saanich before her three years on the Greater Victoria school board. “They were looking at who has the experience of building teams and working in very complex situations.”
The board has a history of being divisive, with five of the nine current trustees being part of the United 61 team.
Loring-Kuhanga said she will work toward creating cohesiveness among all board members.
“I’ve went into easily 100 organizations [with] my consulting business (First Nations Training and Consulting Services) . . . that were really struggling with their board and gone in there and address[ed] the issues and [brought] people together.”
Now, the challenge will be doing the same with her own board.
“I’m not too proud to be able to say that I’ve made mistakes, but now we need to work together on the best interests of the district and move forward,” said Loring-Kuhanga. “I really want people to focus on the issues and not the personalities.”
Deborah Nohr, SD 61 trustee and United 61 member, nominated Loring-Kuhanga as chair because of her extensive experience.
“She brings such a tremendous skill-set and perspective,” said Nohr. “She has a very solid and effective leadership style.”
Diane McNally, another SD 61 trustee, also supported the Loring-Kuhanga’s nomination.
“I’ve really come to appreciate her thoughtfulness and her ability to ask questions that I might not have thought of,” said McNally.
McNally, a member of the United 61 team, said she hopes Loring-Kuhanga’s peacemaking personality will result in good debate at the board table as opposed to personal attacks.
With a Bachelor of Education degree and a Masters in education leadership, Loring-Kuhanga said her main focus will be on improving the lives of children and youth.
“I will continue to put them first in everything that I do. I believe that my work history and my education background speaks loud and clear that I have always put children and youth first.”