Name and pronouns: Marc Andres (he/him/his)
Affiliation: Community First New West
Tell us about yourself:
I teach high school English, PE, and Resource in the public school system, where I also coach sports and am involved in curriculum design and development.
As a teacher mentor, I am passionate about the impact of public education on the lives of students and communities. I bring the perspective of someone who takes part in hundreds of student and teacher interactions every day.
I am also a journeyman Red Seal carpenter and would like to see investment in trades and apprenticeship training in schools.
I live with my wife and young daughter in the Brow of the Hill neighborhood.
Why are you running for school board?
I want to address the many needs of our community, and I believe education is the place to begin because students are our future. This starts with strengthening support for inclusive programs and their staff and expanding opportunities for diverse learners so they can reach their full potential.
What do you think the current school board has done well? Where has it missed the mark?
They have done an exceptional job building and planning for new schools and upgrading aging infrastructure to meet current climate standards. They have completed important reviews of existing processes like the three-year inclusive education improvement plan, and the district anti-racism review. I’d like to see more work addressing staff retention.
What are the top three issues facing the next school board?
- Increasing positive student experiences through improvements to the Safe and Caring Schools policy.
- Continuing to create enough classroom spaces — and access to those classroom spaces — for current and future students.
- Implementation of inclusive and new curriculum and equitable access to extracurricular enrichment.
How do you plan to address those issues?
- Increase teaching of inclusive health education and consent and develop clear reporting tools and accountability mechanisms that monitor our progress towards these goals. Expand the district’s universal food program so that students begin class fuelled and ready to learn.
- Continue to refine the long-term strategic plan for infrastructure development in response to community growth and prioritize land for acquisition. Ensure that Queensborough students have dedicated transit options to access the secondary school that minimize commute time.
- Identify schools that need improved access to arts and trades education. Support creation and implementation of new curriculum — including the Indigenous graduation requirement through consultation with local First Peoples, and by encouraging professional development opportunities. Address retention of education assistants and other specialized staff through a review of neighbouring district policies and structures.
New Westminster schools are facing a serious space crunch. What does the next board need to do to address it?
Because of our city’s small size, land is at a premium. I am committed to exploring designs that are more suitable for high-density, urban environments, as well as delivering on the current strategic plan for land acquisition and development. This will include continued, strong advocacy to the Ministry of Education for funding schools that meet future and not just projected needs.
Health and safety has been a topic of discussion on multiple fronts over the past few years. What are your health and safety priorities for New Westminster schools, and how will you address them?
When students when online they did not just lose access to facilities, programs and teams, they lost access to information and instruction on how to live and be safe and well. I am committed to expanding our athletic program offerings as well as access to mental health resources, which includes developing and implementing inclusive health education in all schools. An important part of safety is having designated staff who are skilled in early identification and intervention, and conflict de-escalation to better support the health and well-being of students.
And just for fun: If you got to spend one full day in school again, what grade would you return to and why?
Kindergarten. Through my daughter I am re-experiencing the joy of story time.
Note: All candidates received the same questionnaire, including word limits. (If candidates ran over word limits, answers are cut off at the limit.) Contact information and social media details are presented as provided by candidates.