Trustee seat up for grabs
Four candidates set sights on school board seat

Dane Gibson
Northern News Services

NNSL (Oct 08/99) - Yellowknife Education District No. 1 school board members, parents and teachers packed into Mildred Hall school Tuesday to watch an all-candidates forum for the position of school board trustee.

It was an opportunity for the public to meet the hopefuls and hear their thoughts on school district issues. Don't forget to cast your vote on Oct. 20.

Dale Thomson:

Dale Thomson moved to Yellowknife from the Kivalliq in 1976 with his wife, Sandy. He has two children in the education system. Thomson was the past-president of the Learning Centre School for Children with Learning Disabilities and is actively involved in the Meals on Wheels program.

He is employed at the GNWT Transportation Department as the safety and public affairs manager.

"Anything that the board is undertaking today has to be addressed with the understanding that there is no more money, neither today or in the near future," Thomson said.

"What we need to do as a board is look inward. We have to look at how cost savings can be achieved without cutting programs, staff or specific classes. I feel in my heart the district can perform more efficiently."

Deana Twissell:

Deana Twissell was born and raised in Yellowknife. She has served on the board of directors of a parent-run day care for two years and is currently a board planning consultant for Yellowknife Health and Social Services.

Last year, Twissell attended a minister's forum on education. She is also a member of the N.J. Macpherson's Parent Advisory Committee. She has two school-age children.

"I think the main challenges facing the school district right now centre around fostering better working relationships with district administration, teachers, parents and students," Twissell said.

"We have to keep the focus on students and their education. With healthier working relationships between these groups we'll build a stronger system."

John Hawk:

John Hawk is the St. John Ambulance chief staff officer. He received an award this year for contributing 700 hours of volunteer time to the community and he is also a member of the Elk's Club.

He has one son in the education system. Hawk has worked as a school bus driver and is currently a driver for city transit.

"I think the school board must find ways to enhance communication between everybody, from the government right down to the student," Hawk said.

"Today we have an excellent school board so it's time to find out what the parents want for their children right now, and in the future."

Delphine Elleze:

Delphine Elleze has over 10 years of experience in the education field as a teacher, academic counsellor, consultant and early childhood instructor.

She took the lead role in designing a cultural program which is being used as a model in schools throughout the North. She is a single mother of a 10-year-old son, self-employed as a consultant, and acts as training co-ordinator for Storefront for Voluntary Agencies.

"There is a need in Yellowknife Education District No. 1 to address the fact that there are diverse learning levels among students. We have to take a good look at district spending and at the increases in class sizes," Elleze said.

"We need to obtain and redistribute funds to improve the weaknesses in our educational system. We need to find equitable solutions for all students who require more assistance, whether that be academic, social or emotional assistance."