Change swept over the Richmond Board of Education Saturday, as the majority of its newly-elected school trustees will be serving in political office for the first time—including two independents.
Jonathan Ho, Ken Hamaguchi, Sandra Nixon and Alice S. Wong are the new faces on a board whose remaining seats were reclaimed by Richmond First incumbents Donna Sargent, Debbie Tablotney and Eric Yung.
Two of the new trustees—Hamaguchi and Nixon—were elected as independents, something rarely seen in a city where slates dominate school board.
“Nobody was more surprised than I was,” said Nixon, who watched the results at home with her family. “I was saying to myself a few days beforehand if I was in the top 12 I’d feel that I’d done pretty well.”
Nixon, 44, has two children in Richmond schools and is a minister at Grace Memorial United Church in Vancouver. She’s hoping to bring to the board a “really independent voice” free of party ties.
That independence might have earned her votes, along with those from voters looking for change after a long teachers’ strike.
“Whether it’s legitimate or not, I think there was a perception, (with) the strike especially, that trustees weren’t doing enough to speak out, or could have done something differently.”
Nixon said she’ll advocate for better funding for local schools, and also plans to address Richmond’s lack of an LGBTQ policy addressing lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning issues. Continue reading