Orcherton appointed new school board chair

Packed room audibly surprised when new trustees turn down leadership roles

Peg Orcherton is the new chair of the Greater Victoria board of education, replacing former chair Tom Ferris, who will continue to serve on the board.

The only trustee nominated for chair, Orcherton was appointed by the board at its inaugural meeting on Dec. 5.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the night came when two newly elected trustees turned down nominations to be vice-chair. That left longtime board member Bev Horsman as the lone nominee, dispensing with the need for a vote.

The audience erupted in chatter when Deborah Nohr and Edith Loring-Kuhanga said they weren’t ready to be second in command.

“People really wanted to see a change and the fact that I didn’t jump forward for it – they were just a bit shocked by that,” Loring-Kuhanga explained. “I ran on building relationships and partnerships. Before I can do that, I need to know who all of the players are.”

There was more chatter when Nohr and Loring-Kuhanga turned down nominations to represent the board to the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association.

Nohr did accept two other nominations but was not elected to either role.

Instead, Bev Horsman will represent the board on the B.C. School Trustees Provincial Council, while Tom Ferris will do the same with the Vancouver Island Labour Relations Council.

“I felt like I had so much to learn just to get up to speed as a first-time trustee and there’s so much work I can do in that role,” Nohr said, citing her desire to focus on anti-bullying projects and a review of special education.

New trustee Diane McNally stepped back from a Labour Relations nomination after having accepted the position as BCPSEA rep.

Catherine Alpha was named chair of the education policy development committee, while Elaine Leonard will head up the operations policy and planning committee meetings.

Orcherton, who garnered the most support in the Nov. 19 election with 15,613 votes, thanked outgoing chair Ferris for his commitment to the children in the district before congratulating the three new trustees.

“There a lot of passion around this table,” she said.

nnorth@saanichnews.com

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