1) Supporting a 21st century facilities plan that recognizes that Vancouver Island communities are leading the province in growth. Nanaimo District Secondary School (NDSS), Ladysmith Intermediate, and the north end all need critical infrastructure investment. This leads into the next core value below.
2) Vancouver Island communities are leading the province in growth. With central Vancouver Island as one of the fastest growing regions in the entire country and more development being approved, it’s critical that we catch up with this growth by improving infrastructure and the ever-important ratio between students and teachers. This can't be done without recognizing that British Columbia has one of the highest costs of living the country while also having the lowest paid public school teachers nationally. By keeping class sizes as low as possible and having more full-time support staff available, this ensures teachers have more individual time to invest with students with diverse requirements so that our kids can get the support they need for achieving a higher level of success in public education.
3) Lowering the school district's dependency on energy not only helps the climate but also saves the district money. Being part of the solution by enhancing Nanaimo-Ladysmith Public School’s current Environmental Stewardship policy by developing new and innovative methods to reduce the district’s impact using a science-based approach in partnership and collaboration with all stakeholders to preserve what we have for generations to come and beyond. I hold a strong commitment to leaving behind a better legacy for our students by protecting what we have for future generations to enjoy.
4) It was an honour to have vice-chaired our school district’s former race relations committee whose initial roots with such initiatives as the Cultural Mosiac project led way to what we now see being realized with the Syeyutsus Framework policy. Along with the new co-governing agreement between Snuneymuxw First Nation and Nanaimo-Ladysmith Public Schools at Qwam Qwum Stuwixwulh, these first steps into the reconciliation process are only the beginning and I am unequivocal in my commitment to moving forward with the next steps into a new future.
5) A changing world means creating additional opportunities for students by including more hands-on programs at the senior level where students can earn the skills necessary for the 21st century so that they are off and running by the time they finish school. Offering certifications or credits in areas such as health services, specialized technical skills, hospitality, sports, agriculture, music and the arts, technology, sustainability, or construction, would give students a head start down the pathway towards success.
6) District-wide after school care is attainable. Students win by having a safe environment when school is over free of tablets or negative influences, parents win by being able to maintain their careers while comforted knowing their children are being looked after by qualified professionals, the economy wins by having more people working because more parents will be free to enter the workforce, and the school district wins by attracting and retaining staff, so the end result sees the community as a whole benefiting tremendously.
Mark is honoured to live, work, and play on the traditional and historic lands of the Snuneymuxw, Snaw-Na-Was and Stz’uminus First Nations people. As a single parent of three daughters, it is here that he actively raises his two young children (Tia and Cierra) who attend school here in Nanaimo-Ladysmith Public Schools, while his eldest daughter (Kasumi) is a recent graduate from our district and has since married her soulmate.
Mark has also previously served on the board of directors for Volunteer Nanaimo, the Nanaimo Family Court committee, and Nanaimo's Culture and Heritage Commission. Professionally, Mark is an essential worker with NACL (Nanaimo Association for Community Living) as a front line community support worker.
Reason for running
Long answer is after speaking with family and friends and having considered the commitments required, it seemed a natural progression from PAC and DPAC. It would be an absolute honour and privilege to continue to serve the community in this exciting and challenging new role while contributing new ideas at the table.