Mel Joy named chair of School District No. 8 (Kootenay Lake) board

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  • Feb. 21, 2011 6:00 a.m.

Creston school trustee Mel Joy has been named chair of the School District No. 8 (Kootenay Lake) board of education. She also has added provincial responsibilities after her election as chair of the BC Public Schools’ Employers Association (BCPSEA).

Now in her second term and entering her fifth year as a trustee, Joy defeated Boswell’s Verna Mayers-MacKenzie in January to become the board chair.

She said her position on the BCPSEA board stems from her passion for human resources.

“Human resources is a very important interest,” she said last week. “That’s one of the reasons I’m working on my bachelor of commerce degree.”

Being active in the provincial organization helps he appreciate the bigger picture of educational issues, she said.

“I really enjoy the opportunity to get a provincial outlook on our system,” she said.

With union agreements now on the bargaining table, Joy said that BCPSEA’s work is at an important juncture.

It is responsible for the negotiation of contracts with the BC Teachers’ Federation (BCTF) and the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE).

“The BCPSEA board is very involved in negotiations,” she said. “We provide direction to negotiators and ratifies contracts for the 60 school boards in the province.”

CUPE negotiations are now underway, she said.

Joy cites relationships as key to her roles with both the local and provincial boards.

“We need to be somewhat cohesive,” she said. “I always try to keep a positive approach to what is going on in our district.”

She said working with new superintendent of schools Jeff Jones has been a positive experience.

“Jeff has a great vision for this district,” she said. “He brings a different perspective to his job, having worked in other provinces and districts. He’s very open to new possibilities, is thoughtful and very people-oriented.”

The Kootenay Lake school district got good news from the province before Christmas when the province kicked in additional funding in response to dropping enrolment.

“Our budget looks good right now, thanks to those extra dollars,” Joy said. “But one-time grants make it hard to plan for the future. For the moment, though, we are OK.”