School Trustee candidates weigh in on FI



Peter Lambright

CPF Parent Peter Lambright is running for school trustee in the upcoming election October 20th in Terrace.

“As a Canadian with bilingual children, I
deeply value French language and culture.
Supporting a successful French Immersion
program benefits all citizens served by the
Coast Mountains School District”.


Margaret Warcup

My support for sustaining the French Immersion Program started after Canada enacted the Official Languages Act.  Our School District has now provided French immersion for over thirty years. 

There are challenges to sustaining and growing the French immersion programs. I am committed to supporting continued dialogue and effective collaboration amongst stakeholders to address the barriers in the effectiveness and viability of our immersion programs.

Working with parents, educators and students we must find solutions for the following issues:

  • Having an adequate supply of qualified teachers.
  • Addressing the attrition rates that occur particularly after grade 8.
  • Addressing the choice of courses and scheduling challenges that occurs in the later grades.
  • Address how to increase  enrollment of students in the French Immersion program.
  • Continue to address accessing sufficient funding including the Federal support for immersion programs.

Our District has active leadership in Canadian Parents for French and this group is committed to  maintaining and enriching the existing programs.  I welcome working with them and others to find solutions to the current barriers identified for the immersion program. 

Sandy Watson (Thornhill)

I believe that language programs in our schools are important. Our district offers K-12 French Immersion in 3 of our areas – Kitimat, Hazelton and Terrace. French Immersion is a program of choice and like any program of choice, there are challenges. Our district has had struggles with having an adequate supply of qualified French Immersion teachers.

There are struggles with attrition; particularly after Gr 6. French Immersion students have more time tabling issues in the higher grades and of course there is always the issue of sufficient funding. I am committed to working with parents, students and educators to find creative ways to address the challenges facing French Immersion programming. I am hopeful that open dialogue and partnership with all of the stakeholders will result in a program that is student focussed, robust and sustainable.

Art Erasmus

Canada has two official languages – English and French with the latter being optional for students to enrol in.  Now we have a variety of first nations languages becoming more and more prevalent, giving students (and their families) other choices to learn something of their heritage.  We will see how that will fit into the curriculum in the coming school years.  Students will make their choices with the help of their  parents and the school depending in its population.

Lorrie Gowen

My name is Lorrie Gowen, and I have lived in Gossen sub-division for 26 years, moving here from Calgary where I worked at SAIT Polytechnic.  I have been an employee of Coast Mountain College (nee: Northwest Community College) since 1994 and am currently Dean of Trades and Workforce Training.  

The purpose of our education system, both K-12 and Post-Secondary is to give students the skills needed to be whatever they want to be; be it Plumber, Doctor, Graphic Artist, or Network Administrator.  I am running for position of Trustee for Thornhill (Area 3) with Coast Mountains Board of Education.

I want to thank you for this opportunity to write about my views on French Education in the District.   A recent research study found that 8.8% of Canadian job postings require candidates to be fluent in both official languages.  The stats also that show men who speak both languages earn 3.8% more than those speaking only one language, women who are bilingual earn on average 6.6% higher wages.  In this highly competitive job market, one has to support parents who have made the decision to send their children to French Immersion schools.      

Having said that, whether students are in English or French schools, it will be my job as trustee to ask the questions on how we are giving students the skills needed to be successful in employment.  Those being communication, critical thinking, teamwork, adaptability, initiative, reliability, ongoing learning & development, leadership, organization, and technology.  How are teachers integrating these skills into their lessons?  I will also be looking at how we are adapting Work Integrated Learning (WIL) into our classrooms.  Do all students have an opportunity to participate in experiential, place-based learning?  How are we connecting schools to their community?  

Large topics for sure, but one I feel I am ready and able to tackle.  I look forward to having the opportunity to represent you as Trustee for the next four years.

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