Gareth Lockhart is running for school trustee in Langley Township. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

Gareth Lockhart is running for school trustee in Langley Township. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

MEET THE CANDIDATES

IN THE LANGLEY SCHOOL TRUSTEE RACE: Gareth Lockhart

Ahead of Oct. 15, the Advance Times offers a profile and Q&A opportunity to each candidate

Gareth Lockhart

RUNNING AS AN INDEPENDENT

Firefighter, age 36

Fort Langley resident who’s lived in Langley 12 years

I am a husband to my high school sweetheart and father to our two amazing girls.

I have a formal education in local government leadership development, and I have over a decade of experience successfully advocating for public and first responder health and safety initiatives at the municipal, provincial, and federal levels.

My “why” are my daughters.

I want to be part of this team, to see it forward with the next generation of students. It’s important to me to have a parent(s) on the board that have school-aged children.

It’s important to me that mental health (students and our teachers), safe access to school (walkways, transportation, etc.), inclusion and diversity initiatives, district growth plans, and great communication across stakeholders, are board priorities.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/Lockhart4Trustee

Website: www.garethlockhart.ca

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Have you held office in past? If so, please specify: No.

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CLICK TO CHECK OUT OUR FULL ELECTION GUIDE ONLINE

Questions:

(These answers are presented as the candidates submitted them)

1. Do you agree with how SOGI material and other sex education is currently taught in the classroom, including LGBTQ2S content and sexual consent?

Yes. I believe that with the relationships teachers foster with their students, in consultation with parents and with direction from stakeholder groups and working committees, Langley is on the right track.

2. Are class sizes too big?

Yes. Talk to any teacher, this should be a surprise. In the fire service we have something called “span of control,” this is basically the number of personnel that an individual can effectively manage. We set that number between 3-7. Teachers are educators, not facilitators and the current class size to teacher ratio is not conducive to educating or learning. We also need to ensure a balance of students with needs and neuro typical learners within a single classroom setting. There needs to be more Education Assistants in the classroom setting to aid the classroom teacher and students.

3. Should all students with diverse abilities or special needs be taught in regular classrooms?

No. Students with diverse abilities or special needs should be taught in the environment most conducive to their unique learning abilities, and in consultation with their parents/caregivers and teachers.

This may or may not be the regular classroom.

We need to ensure that these students who require enhanced attention get this with the most appropriate education assistant/teacher while not depriving them of the values that in class studies can have on their learning and developmental outcomes.

We need to ensure there are no barriers to their educational fulfillment and simply thinking that a “regular classroom” setting is the answer, misses the individuality and sensitivity of the subject.

I answered “No,” because the question is too linear in its approach and does not take into account the nuance or sensitivity of the subject, the diversity of the individual.

4. Is the provincial government providing enough funding for public schools?

No.

5. Should the district set a deadline to switch to an all-electric bus and vehicle fleet?

No. Based on the current funding model, there needs to be prioritization to other areas. If the Province would like to allocate money specifically to a green initiative without taking funding away from other areas, I would be in favour. I do understand the benefit of electric vehicles, being an owner myself, but due to economic instability, we need to ensure our childrens’ education is of the utmost priority and that may mean having a soft deadline or a longer phase in program as funding comes available.

6. Should there be more emphasis on STEM courses in schools?

Yes. This question says “more emphasis.” What we should be doing, is ensuring that there are less barriers to students and parents who want more STEM courses. This would include information sessions, increasing of course availability based on interest, ensuring qualified instructors, little to no additional financial impact on the student. I believe that we should consult with our teachers and ministry of education on the merits of STEM, prior to increasing its component in the curriculum.

7. Should the district consider offering distance education for some students on a regular basis, based on what was learned during the pandemic?

Yes. Students that are immunocompromised should have access to the same/similar teaching and curriculum as their peers. We also need to consider the benefits of distance learning on mental health, allowing students to transition to full-time, in person studies. I am a proponent of ideas that make education more accessible and inclusive. We also need to ensure that our current classroom teachers do not experience a burden of facilitating this program. We would need to ensure that we have the staff available to make this type of program successful.

8. Should the district have a strategy to reduce the use of portables?

Yes.

9. Should there be more emphasis on Indigenous-based history and culture courses?

Yes. There needs to be a base curriculum that includes indigenous-based history and culture courses. There also needs to be appropriate resources and programs for additional learning at the request of the individual, without barriers. This would be designed by and in consultation with local stakeholder groups to ensure authenticity, sensitivity and facilitated as intended.

10. Should new elementary schools be built larger, to accommodate more students and deal with continuing rapid enrolment growth?

Yes. However, we also need to ensure that our classrooms have less students and thusly, our schools have more full-time teachers. A larger school doesn’t mean a more conducive learning environment, it is simply infrastructure.

CLICK ON OUR ELECTIONS 2022 TAB TO FIND A WIDE VARIETY OF RELEVANT STORIES

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EDITOR’S NOTE:

How the questions were presented to each candidate

Langley Advance Times readers have repeatedly told us how much they value this important, straight-forward reference guide that helps orient them with the range of choices on the ballots – both at the council and school board levels.

Towards that end, we have attempted to make this package available (along with the following instructions) to each of the candidates in a timely fashion ahead of the Oct. 15 election.

Please read carefully before you start to fill this out.

To help voters in Langley make their choices on election day, the Langley Advance Times is asking local candidates 10 issue-based questions.

You must provide a ‘yes,’ a ‘no,’ or a ‘don’t know’ (Y, N, D) response to EACH of these questions.

Each question MUST be answered with yes (Y), no (N), or Don’t Know (D). This will be published in a grid in the Oct. 6 edition. Any questions not answered will be LEFT BLANK.

Candidates may also expand on ANY OR ALL of these questions (to a maximum of 200 words each). Please note any responses longer than that will be cut off at the 201-word mark.

Due to space limitations, we can only guarantee to run one of these answers in the Langley Advance Times print edition ahead of the election. You must CLEARLY indicate which expanded answer you want to see published in print. If you do not specify, we will choose. Any and all expanded answers provided will be published online at www.langleyadvancetimes.com.

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