Doug McPhee is running for re-election as a trustee on the SD5 Board of Education in the upcoming local government elections on Oct. 15.
Born and raised in Cranbrook, McPhee has worked in the school system as a teacher and administrator in both the West Kootenay, and in SD5 for 25 years before retiring.
McPhee says brings “essential elements of experience and focus” to the role of trustee, adding that he is inspired by the values passed down by his father and mother; his father was also a teacher, while his mother taught him compassion and seeing the value in everyone.
“During my 40 years of service in education, I have been granted the responsibilities of: teacher and coach, administrator, district management and trustee,” McPhee said. “Throughout this experience I have actively supported programs and opportunities which have focused on the success and value of all learners – my mother’s gift.
“I have worked collaboratively with other stakeholders in education to ensure that budgets and resources are allocated in a fiscally responsible manner, addressing the needs of all students and staff – my father’s gift.”
McPhee says there are a number of issues facing the school district locally and across the province.
Coming out of pandemic recovery, McPhee noted the importance of staff being equipped with trauma-informed practices for students whose mental health was adversely affected by COVID-19.
The district needs to continue advocating for more financial resources, particularly targeted funding for student services to assist those who have difficulties in the classroom and need more support to have success, says McPhee.
“The district, SD5, has had to go over that targeted funding, put in more into support of students who really need additional support than what the government allows, and we’ve reported that a number of times,” said McPhee.
Additional funding is also needed to address aging facilities, particularly Mount Baker Secondary School.
McPhee says there are issues with retaining and recruiting specialized staff — an issue across the province — and notes that contract negotiations are underway.
He also says is a need for more youth education on the dangers of substance abuse, given the ever-worsening crisis with the toxic drug supply in BC.
In addition to working in education, McPhee and his wife, Deb, have been heavily involved in providing Restorative Justice facilitation and training.
“This service provides the community and those who find themselves negatively affected by a poor choice or the poor choices of others, the opportunity to address that harm in a peaceful and responsible manner,” said McPhee. “Restorative Justice is used frequently in the communities of this region, within the school district and is an example of my experience with, and ongoing dedication to, collaborative processes.”