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Board Highlights - November 14, 2023

An overview of discussion items and major decisions of the Board of Education of School District No. 8 (Kootenay Lake). For meeting agendas/minutes and a schedule of upcoming board meetings visit

Board of Education Elections

At the inaugural Board meeting in Nelson, B.C., School Trustee Dawn Lang was elected by acclamation as the new Chair, and School Trustee Julie Bremner was elected as Vice-Chair. Chair Lang expressed honour at being elected by her peers and gratitude toward former Chair Lenora Trenaman for her past leadership. Vice-Chair Bremner, in her new role, expressed eagerness to work with Chair Lang and all trustees, acknowledging the community's active role in education. These positions are part of the Board's ongoing governance, with the current term extending to the general local elections on October 17, 2026.

SD8 Teacher Wins Prime Minister’s Award

Superintendent Trish Smillie announced to the Board that W.E. Graham Community School (WEG) teacher Sean Marechal received the Prime Minister’s Award for Teaching Excellence. This prestigious award recognizes Mr. Marechal’s dedication to fostering leadership, teamwork, and community involvement among students. 
Mr. Marechal attended the board meeting in person along with W.E. Graham Community School Principal Mike Hurley who nominated him for the award. Mr. Marechal has led the Valhalla Wilderness Program for 25 years, offering Grade 9 and 10 students in the Slocan area adventure activities integrated with the provincial curriculum. 
Mr. Marechal was publicly congratulated by the Board, and by the Member of Parliament for South Okanagan—West Kootenay Richard Cannings through a letter read aloud at the meeting. 

SD8 Wins National Award for Communications and Engagement

The district received the Award of Distinction 2023 BRAVO! Award from the Canadian Association of Communicators in Education (CACE) for its 2024-2029 Strategic Plan Engagement. The engagement process saw thousands of community members participate to develop five strategic priorities: lifelong learners, connected learners, a caring and inclusive learning culture, cultural and identity development, and career development. Trustee and past board chair Lenora Trenaman expressed gratitude for this recognition of the Board's and district staff’s community engagement efforts and thanked all school communities for their high level of participation.

Numeracy Continuous Learning Report

District Principal - Innovative Learning, Tamara Malloff presented the Numeracy Continuous Learning Report 2023-2024. She also presented the Numeracy Action Plan, aimed at enhancing numeracy proficiency across all grades.

Inclusion and Diversity Education

Superintendent Trish Smillie introduced Director of Instruction – Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Deanna Holtizki, along with District Principal – Aboriginal Education Gail Higginbottom and District Diversity Teacher Coordinator Jesse Halton who provided the Board with an overview of human rights information and inclusion and diversity education in SD8.

School districts in B.C. are required to adhere to human rights legislation as outlined in the Canadian Human Rights Act, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the BC Human Rights Code. Public sector employees are required to follow all three pieces of human rights legislation; this requirement includes all school district employees. Equality rights are at the core of these pieces of human rights legislation. They are intended to ensure that everyone is treated with the same respect, dignity and consideration without discrimination, regardless of personal characteristics such as race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age, or mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, gender, residency, marital status or citizenship. 

Staff presented information about the district's adherence to human rights legislation and fostering a safe and inclusive environment for all students and staff. Supportive resources are outlined on the district’s website on the Safe, Caring, and Inclusive Schools webpage.

Student Trustees' Reports

Student Trustees Cassidy Popoff and Daisy Lamoureux shared updates from the Student Leadership Conference and initiatives from their schools, including Remembrance Day commemorations and winter holiday event preparations.

These highlights exclude confidential information such as business negotiations, personnel issues and legal matters. For other information or to provide feedback, please contact our Public Engagement Manager at 250-352-6681 or 

About School District No. 8 (Kootenay Lake): Located in the southern Interior of British Columbia, SD8 serves numerous diverse communities in the Kootenays including Crawford Bay, Creston, Kaslo, Meadow Creek, Nelson, Salmo, Slocan, South Slocan, Winlaw, Wynndel, and Yahk. We also serve students across B.C. through our provincial online learning school, Elev8. Our dedicated team focuses on providing the best possible educational opportunities for over 4,700 students and their families. Our mission is to inspire and support each learner to thrive in a caring learning environment.