Abbotsford, BC — The Abbotsford Board of Education has a new Chair, as Trustee Rhonda Pauls was elected last night at a public meeting of the Board on Tuesday night. She succeeds Trustee Cindy Schafer who was elected Vice-Chair.

In her inaugural address, the new Chair – first elected Trustee in 2011 – acknowledged the time and commitment of Trustee Cindy Schafer, who has served seven years as Board Chair. Schafer stood for and was elected Vice-Chair.

“We have so much to celebrate as a district; however the fact that our students outperform the provincial average in most areas is not good enough. It is our collective goal to be constantly improving,” said Chair Pauls. “Our students are the next generation of leaders and our challenge is to guide and prepare them for a life and work force that we know is evolving faster than we can even comprehend at times. But we embrace this challenge.”

The new Chair acknowledged a number of student accomplishments and highlights in 2015. One of note was the BC Student Leadership Forum in September, when Yale Secondary hosted more than 300 student leaders from across BC. With Abbotsford students playing key roles, the participants learned key leadership skills, led each other in learning about the importance of peer mentoring, and learned more about youth mental health issues, global citizenship and teambuilding.

Other highlights in the district included: launching the new Rick Hansen Secondary School of Science and Business, the opening of the district’s new specialized teaching lab “Explozone”, and continued strong investment in early learning with the opening of the new Abbotsford Early Years Centre in the Sweeney Neighbourhood Centre. Chair Pauls pointed out the district’s consultation process via Thoughtexchange, engaged some 2,000 parents on key questions and provided valuable feedback to the district and Board. Other achievements included: the district’s second Aboriginal Enhancement Agreement and the Board’s first Community Matters Award to recognize significant contributions made by community organizations, groups and individuals.

“We are so very privileged to be part of history in the making by serving our students, not just with our knowledge, skills and experiences, but with our hearts, each and every day.”

The Chair and Vice-Chair are elected annually at a regular December Board meeting.

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