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New school board, with pair of appointed members, sworn in

The new board of trustees for the Flin Flon School Division (FFSD) has officially taken shape, holding their first meeting of the new term Nov. 8.
Flin Flon School Division board trustees and administrators sit at the board's first meeting Nov. 8. The board includes Jackie Hucaluk, Coralie Jays, Tyler Kittle, secretary treasurer Heather Fleming, board chair Leslie Fernandes, superintendent Tammy Ballantyne, Jed Reeves, Angela Simpson and Tim Davis.

The new board of trustees for the Flin Flon School Division (FFSD) has officially taken shape, holding their first meeting of the new term Nov. 8.

Pending any changes in provincial legislation or school division business, the board will represent the FFSD through to fall 2026, the date of the next Manitoba local elections.

The five members of the board who entered the race earlier this year - incumbents Tim Davis and Leslie Fernandes, as well as Jackie Hucaluk, Coralie Jays and Angela Simpson - each were sworn in at their first meeting, along with the two new members appointed to fill up the board - Tyler Kittle and Jed Reeves.

Kittle, a millwright by trade who has served with several local community organizations and union groups, and Reeves, a manager at RBC Royal Bank and a former FFSD student, were announced as the appointed members at the meeting and were sworn in along with the five nominees.

Each were selected by the five nominated members between the Oct. 26 election and the meeting date following an application and interview process, similar to applying for a new job.

“The five of us met and we came up with an interview process,” said trustee Fernandes.

“I had a number of people send me emails, saying they were interested in running for school board trustee. We took those people that were interested already and put them into an interview process. We brought each of them in and asked them some questions, talked about why they wanted to be on the board - from those interviews, we came up with our two appointees.”

Both appointees were happy with their new posts and expressed interest in learning the job.

“I’m very happy to be on the board. I’m excited to be on and I think there are wonderful people who will teach us new things. It’s going to be a learning experience and I’ll be looking at the returning trustees to lead the way in some ways,” Kittle said.

“We’re new and we’re going to have to follow the experience of our other board members, but I'm excited for that process to start and excited for the time when we can be more involved and really, really help, to do our best as a group to come up with good solutions,” Reeves said.

“It’s brand new today - it’s going to be brand new for a little while, but it’ll be fun and we can start putting our work in.”

Each of the acclaimed new members of the board experienced enthusiasm with their upcoming term, saying they expect the tasks to be challenging and new and to learn from other board members.

“I’m happy to be on here. I'm optimistic that over the next four years, we’re going to meld well together as a board,” said Jays.

“I’m looking forward to the understanding and the learning - that's why I came on here, to challenge myself and to learn. I’m already learning so much - it’s not as easy as the public sees,” Hucaluk said.

“There's a lot of stuff that goes on that, as a student or as a parent, there's a lot of decisions that are made that are thinking of the whole, not just the moment. I'm excited to learn about all that.”

The sole new member on the board with school board experience, Simpson - who was on the board for more than 40 years before losing her seat in the 2018 school board election - asked her new coworkers to be patient with her as she learned new technology and how to be a 21st-century board trustee.

“I’m so excited to be working with young people. I’m looking forward to be able to be a technological whiz - it’s like going back to school for me. It’s going to be an interesting learning curve,” Simpson said.

“This has been wonderful from my perspective. It’s sad to see people having to be acclaimed and that was a lot easier than the interview process that these new people have been put through, but I think they have so much to give. I’m looking forward to learning from them and hope that they will be patient with me.”

The two returning members were pleased with the new faces each showing interest in their spots, with both saying they believe the new board should be able to get things done.

“I feel like this board is a good one, just like the last one. I think we’re going to have a good four years,” said trustee Davis, knocking the wooden table.

“I’m very grateful to all of you for putting your name forward. Standing up and putting your name down for public office is not easy, so thank you,” said Fernandes.

“I appreciate all of you being here and we're definitely looking forward to working with all of you.”

Committee appointments for the new board will take place at their next meeting, slated to take place Nov. 22. Fernandes was nominated as chair of the board - new trustee Simpson nominated Davis for the post, but Davis declined to put his name forward, putting Fernandes in the seat she occupied before election time. The vice-chair position was filled by Kittle, who volunteered to fill the spot.

Davis expressed interest in attending an upcoming Manitoba School Boards Association (MSBA) event on behalf of the board, a responsibility usually taken on by now-former trustee Murray Skeavington.

The seven-member board covers the governance responsibilities of the FFSD, working with existing executive staff such as superintendent Tammy Ballantyne and secretary-treasure Heather Fleming to cover what is needed within the division.

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