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Ashdown new chair of Langley school board

New board of trustees has been sworn in to start a four-year term
The newly-elected Langley school board is, left to right, Trustees Joel Neufeld, Holly Dickinson, Tony Ward, Chair Candy Ashdown, Charlie Fox, Marnie Wilson, and Sarb Rai. (Langley School District/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

Langley’s new school board has chosen Trustee Candy Ashdown as its new chair for the coming term.

The new board was sworn in on Nov. 9, and the board members then voted in a secret ballot for the new chair.

“I want to take a minute to recognize all the candidates who ran in this election,” Ashdown said after she was confirmed as the new chair. “Campaigns can be hard, both emotionally and physically.”

The election saw a significant amount of turnover on the board, with only three of the seven previous trustees returning this term.

Ashdown has previously served one term on the board, from 2011 to 2014. She returned to run again this year, and was elected by acclamation in Langley City when she was one of only two people to put their names forward for the two board seats elected there.

During her opening remarks as the new chair, Ashdown spoke emotionally about her mother, the late Diane Pona, who had also served as a trustee for several terms.

“My mom was a passionate advocate for public education and ensuring equity across the board for all students,” Ashdown said.

Her mother’s example inspired her to run, Ashdown said.

Ashdown and Trustee Marnie Wilson were both nominated for the position of board chair.

Trustee Holly Dickinson was elected as vice-chair.

Unlike in municipal governments, where mayors and councillors are elected separately, all school board members are simply elected as trustees. They then choose their own chair and vice chair from among their ranks at the first meeting.

Langley’s school board has an unusual electoral structure because it serves both the City and Township. Two trustees are from the City, and five from the Township.

READ ALSO: Ashdown makes run to regain Langley City school board seat

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Matthew Claxton

About the Author: Matthew Claxton

Raised in Langley, as a journalist today I focus on local politics, crime and homelessness.
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