Denesiuk steps down from trustee role

After nearly two decades as a school trustee, Connie Denesiuk will not seek re-election this fall.

“I have been honoured and I have fully enjoyed my responsibilities,” she said.

She was first elected to the Summerland School District in a by-election in 1992. 

At that time, she was co-chair of a parents’ advisory committee and when the position on the board became available, she was encouraged to run.

During her time as a trustee, she has seen several significant changes to the schools in the area.

In 1996, the Penticton and Summerland school districts amalgamated, resulting in changes in both communities.

The school structure was also changed as the amalgamated school district adopted the middle school model.

The middle schools accommodate students in Grades 6 to 8 and serves as a transition between elementary school and high school.

Previously, Summerland’s elementary schools covered students from Kindergarten to Grade 7, while those in Grades 8 to 12 were in the high school.

Along with restructuring the school system, Denesiuk said the school board has also had to close a number of schools, although in some cases, new schools were built as well.

“It hasn’t always been easy. We have had challenges within the district,” she said.

On the amalgamated board, Denesiuk served as board chair for nine years. 

She has also served as vice-president and later president of the B.C. School Trustees’ Association, a provincial organization working with the provincial Ministry of Education on school issues.

Denesiuk said she has an appreciation for the schools within the district.

“I’m very proud of our students and our staff,” she said. 

“We were identified as a district that was progressive, fiscally responsible and innovative. The students perform well in provincial comparisons.”

There are still challenges for the school district, especially in improving student achievement and helping aboriginal students achieve greater success, she added.

For the future, Denesiuk has not committed herself to seeking other elected roles.

“I’m looking at all of my options,” she said. 

“What I do next has got to be interesting, challenging and at the end of the day, I want to know I have made a difference.”