Jan Gladish was recently acclaimed as the school trustee for School District 72 to represent the Discovery Islands, including Cortes Island students. In the position, she hopes to hold space for the needs of the diverse students she represents in the unique rural setting of the Northern Gulf Islands.

Gladish brings educational experience to the table, as a former school teacher, administrator and parent of students in the school system. And her background as an Indigenous educator strengthens her passion to advocate for Indigenous students. 

“I have worked a lot with Indigenous students, being that I am Indigenous myself, and I know that the success rate has not been what it should be for Indigenous learners. So I look forward to seeing that improve, and I have definitely seen it improve since 1994 when the government of the day brought in some extra support and a real commitment to making a difference for those learners in classrooms.”

Gladish is inspired by triumphs like the 1994 shifts in policy, as she has witnessed its effects in the classroom.

“I have seen it change. I’ve been a part of that change and so I bring that hope and that experience and that belief that we can do better in so many different areas.”

The nature of education in the rural-marine environment is also something the trustee is inspired by and reminisced about a recent visit to the Surge Narrows School on Read Island. 

“I’m excited about the fact that they can watch a boat builder build a little boat and know what goes into that because that’s their reality.”

The education advocate has been enjoying the community outreach nature of her job, holding space to hear from parents and students.

“It’s always such an honor to support that and to have some say in the direction that learning goes. You pull it all together and know that, there’s exciting things happening in different places all over the province and certainly within the School District 72.”

Gladish will be focused on helping the school trustee board and superintendent develop a strategic plan over the next year. She also hopes to visit the Cortes Island School very soon.

To hear more about Jan Gladish’s new role as School Trustee, listen to the CKTZ News update below: