About the Board

Edith Loring-Kuhanga, Board Chair

Contact Edith at: eloring@sd61.bc.ca - Edith is a member of the Wolf Clan of the Gitxsan Nation, BC. Her matriarchal name, Nox Gyes, recognizes the role that she has in her family and across Canada. She has been honoured to live on the Coast Salish territory since 1984. She is married to Julius Kuhanga, originally from Tanzania. They are proud parents of two sons and four grandchildren. They also raised four nieces and nephews. Edith has a Bachelor of Education Degree and graduated with a…

Contact Edith at: eloring@sd61.bc.ca -

Edith is a member of the Wolf Clan of the Gitxsan Nation, BC. Her matriarchal name, Nox Gyes, recognizes the role that she has in her family and across Canada. She has been honoured to live on the Coast Salish territory since 1984. She is married to Julius Kuhanga, originally from Tanzania. They are proud parents of two sons and four grandchildren. They also raised four nieces and nephews. Edith has a Bachelor of Education Degree and graduated with a Masters in Education Leadership in May 2012. She has 30 years experience in the education profession including teaching at the elementary and post-secondary levels, counseling, curriculum development and administration.

For 22 years, Edith owned and operated First Nations Training & Consulting Services which provided training and consulting services to Aboriginal communities across Canada. In May 2002, she was awarded the YM/YWCA Women of Distinction Award in the Education, Training & Development Category.

Edith feels privileged to be elected for her second term with the Greater Victoria Board of Education. From 2008 to 2011, she had the privilege to serve on the Saanich Board of Education. Edith believes that every child has a right to quality, relevant and meaningful education; that the school board should be open and transparent; and trustees must actively advocate for a fully funded public education.

Full biography

Tom Ferris, Board Vice-Chair

Contact Tom at: tferris@sd61.bc.ca - I feel honoured to serve on the Victoria Board of Education. When my children were young, I joined the Ecole Quadra Elementary PAC and eventually became it's president. Since then, I have chaired the Victoria Board of Education, the Education Policy Committee and the Swan Lake-Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary. My family experiences and business background have helped to guide my decisions at the board table. Our students' welfare and education are my highest priority.

Contact Tom at: tferris@sd61.bc.ca -

I feel honoured to serve on the Victoria Board of Education. When my children were young, I joined the Ecole Quadra Elementary PAC and eventually became it's president. Since then, I have chaired the Victoria Board of Education, the Education Policy Committee and the Swan Lake-Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary.

My family experiences and business background have helped to guide
my decisions at the board table.

Our students' welfare and education are my highest priority.

Full biography

Elaine Leonard, Trustee

Contact Elaine at: eleonard@sd61.bc.ca - Elaine Leonard has been a Trustee for 18 years, including three years as Chair of the Board of Education. She has been Chair of the Operations and Policy Planning Committee for a number of years and has also served on many community advisory committees. Elaine attended school in the Greater Victoria School District as did her 2 children. Elaine volunteered for many years in the classroom and held many executive positions in her local PACs. Elaine believes that a trustee's…

Contact Elaine at: eleonard@sd61.bc.ca -

Elaine Leonard has been a Trustee for 18 years, including three years as Chair of the Board of Education. She has been Chair of the Operations and Policy Planning Committee for a number of years and has also served on many community advisory committees.

Elaine attended school in the Greater Victoria School District as did her 2 children. Elaine volunteered for many years in the classroom and held many executive positions in her local PACs.

Elaine believes that a trustee's role is to make decisions that support learning in the classroom. She believes in supporting a diverse program of arts, music, physical activities and academics and believes that these programs should be fully funded by the government.

Full biography

Diane McNally, Trustee

Contact Diane at: dmcnally@sd61.bc.ca - Diane has been involved in public education her entire life as a student, ten years as a CUPE education assistant supporting students with special needs, and a teacher / teacher teaching on call in Alberta, and three Districts on BC. Diane ended her 22 year teaching career in School District 61 in June 2011 and was elected to the Board of Education SD61 in November 2011. Diane initiated the Frank Hobbs Animal Club, volunteers in a variety of animal welfare…

Contact Diane at: dmcnally@sd61.bc.ca -

Diane has been involved in public education her entire life as a student, ten years as a CUPE education assistant supporting students with special needs, and a teacher / teacher teaching on call in Alberta, and three Districts on BC. Diane ended her 22 year teaching career in School District 61 in June 2011 and was elected to the Board of Education SD61 in November 2011. Diane initiated the Frank Hobbs Animal Club, volunteers in a variety of animal welfare activities including serving on the Victoria SPCA Community Council, is a former Board member of the Early Music Society of the Islands, and served on the Executive of the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association.

Diane looks forward to continuing to advocate for students’ increased involvement in their own education as Student Trustees, and for their learning conditions, which are inextricably connected to working conditions for employees. Diane notes that in 1991, K-12 education received 26.36% of the British Columbia provincial budget. In 2002 that percentage fell to 19%, in 2011 15.41 %. In 2014 the Provincial government allocates just 10% of the Provincial budget for education. This trend along with increasing offloads of costs to School Districts creates challenging conditions and an obvious need for defense of public education in British Columbia.

Full biography

Deborah Nohr, Trustee

Contact Deborah at: dnohr@sd61.bc.ca - Deborah is very pleased to have served for the past three years as trustee in the Greater Victoria School District. This opportunity has provided Deborah with the platform to strongly advocate for proper funding for public education. She has engaged with many community members and organizations to inform the citizens about the reality and negative impact for many students when there is inadequate funding. Deborah feels that it is the most significant social justice issue of our day. Deborah’s life…

Contact Deborah at: dnohr@sd61.bc.ca -

Deborah is very pleased to have served for the past three years as trustee in the Greater Victoria School District. This opportunity has provided Deborah with the platform to strongly advocate for proper funding for public education. She has engaged with many community members and organizations to inform the citizens about the reality and negative impact for many students when there is inadequate funding. Deborah feels that it is the most significant social justice issue of our day. Deborah’s life experiences have caused her to become a strong social justice advocate. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Guelph. Deborah, then attended the University of Ottawa to study where she graduated with a masters in educational psychology.

Deborah has completed further course work in education at the University of Victoria. She taught in Ottawa, near Boston, MA, in the city of Lawrence as well as in Victoria. Deborah raised her children in the public education system and now she has a grandson who attends school in our district. As an educator for over 25 years Deborah has taught at the elementary, middle and high school level with a specialty in special education and with english language learners. Deborah has a broad and detailed understanding of our district which is a dynamic and highly diverse community of learners.

Full biography

Peg Orcherton, Trustee

Contact Peg at: porcherton@sd61.bc.ca - Peg is married and a parent of 4 children and is a grandmother. All four children have graduated from District High Schools, one from Mt. Doug, two from Vic High, (making that the 4th generation in her family to do so), and the youngest recently from Lambrick Park. Peg’s granddaughter and great niece (the next generation) are students in our public schools. Peg is serving in her fifth term as Trustee for the Greater Victoria School District and served from…

Contact Peg at: porcherton@sd61.bc.ca -

Peg is married and a parent of 4 children and is a grandmother. All four children have graduated from District High Schools, one from Mt. Doug, two from Vic High, (making that the 4th generation in her family to do so), and the youngest recently from Lambrick Park. Peg’s granddaughter and great niece (the next generation) are students in our public schools.

Peg is serving in her fifth term as Trustee for the Greater Victoria School District and served from 2011-2014 as Chairperson for the District. She participated in the new BC School Trustees Association (BCSTA) bargaining taskforce, is active on the Culture and Community Committee, the Committee on Public Engagement, the Oak Bay High Steering Committee and Peg attends and is an active participant in all Education and Operations Policy Standing Committee Meetings.

Peg is a strong advocate for a Public Education funding formula that puts students first and fully funds education in our District. Peg enjoys working with Child Find BC, is a life member of the BC Government and Service Employees Union, and was a long time delegate to the Victoria Labour Council. Peg retired as of January 31, 2012 from Health Insurance of British Columbia (MSP).

Peg believes that "every child has the right to access the maximum in education opportunity, regardless of their or their families' economic or social circumstance."

Full biography

Rob Paynter, Trustee

Contact Rob at: rpaynter@sd61.bc.ca - Rob and his wife Kris have two children who currently attend elementary and middle school in School District 61. It is their experiences that inform Rob’s view of the conditions in our school district and the provincial education system more broadly. Rob is committed to the principle that a comprehensive, properly resourced and accessible public education system is the very foundation of our society. Rob arrived in (greater) Victoria in 1983 to attend Royal Roads Military College and subsequently served…

Contact Rob at: rpaynter@sd61.bc.ca -

Rob and his wife Kris have two children who currently attend elementary and middle school in School District 61. It is their experiences that inform Rob’s view of the conditions in our school district and the provincial education system more broadly. Rob is committed to the principle that a comprehensive, properly resourced and accessible public education system is the very foundation of our society.

Rob arrived in (greater) Victoria in 1983 to attend Royal Roads Military College and subsequently served in the 3rd battalion PPCLI stationed at Work Point Barracks in Esquimalt. Following his military service, Rob studied at Camosun College and UVic before joining the provincial public service to work on strategic land use planning efforts, including those related to the Great Bear Rainforest. In the course of this work, Rob came to realize that achieving balanced and durable decisions was through meaningful collaboration with all interested or affected parties. Rob will be using this same approach as he works to ensure the best possible opportunities for every student.

Full biography

Jordan Watters, Trustee, Operations Policy and Planning Committee Chair

Contact Jordan at: jwatters@sd61.bc.ca or follow her on twitter @Supportbced - Jordan Watters and her husband Matthew are proud to be raising their family in Greater Victoria. Their young sons are the driving force behind Jordan’s commitment to inclusive and equitable public education in SD61. Jordan is the founder and administrator of Support for BC Students on Facebook providing information and news updates to over 19,000 subscribers. Jordan has been a strong voice in the fight for fully funded quality public education in BC, and…

Contact Jordan at: jwatters@sd61.bc.ca or follow her on twitter @Supportbced -

Jordan Watters and her husband Matthew are proud to be raising their family in Greater Victoria. Their young sons are the driving force behind Jordan’s commitment to inclusive and equitable public education in SD61. Jordan is the founder and administrator of Support for BC Students on Facebook providing information and news updates to over 19,000 subscribers. Jordan has been a strong voice in the fight for fully funded quality public education in BC, and she looks forward continuing her advocacy work as a Trustee.

Jordan is the Director of Research for a consulting firm specializing in labour market and economic development projects for First Nations, labour, industry and governments. She specializes in qualitative research methods, stakeholder engagement, and strategic planning. Jordan holds a Master of Arts in Sociology with specialization in Education from Queen’s University, and a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) from Bishop’s University. Jordan has researched, lectured, and published in the fields of Education, Sociology, Business Regulation and Law.

Full biography

Ann Whiteaker, Trustee, Education Policy Development Committee Chair

Contact Ann at: awhiteaker@sd61.bc.ca - Born and raised on Vancouver Island, Ann is proud to call Victoria her home. Through her interest and involvement in her own children’s education, Ann developed an understanding and passion to advocate for the success of all children in the public education system. Ann served for four years as President of the provincial Parent Advisory Council (BCCPAC), working tirelessly and collaboratively with education partners building relationships, improving communication and supporting student success through parent involvement. She has advocated for students…

Contact Ann at: awhiteaker@sd61.bc.ca -

Born and raised on Vancouver Island, Ann is proud to call Victoria her home. Through her interest and involvement in her own children’s education, Ann developed an understanding and passion to advocate for the success of all children in the public education system.

Ann served for four years as President of the provincial Parent Advisory Council (BCCPAC), working tirelessly and collaboratively with education partners building relationships, improving communication and supporting student success through parent involvement. She has advocated for students and parents on numerous educational committees including the Education Advisory Council, BC Educational Leadership Council, First Nations Education Steering Committee, the BC School Centred Mental Health Coalition and was appointed to the BC Teachers Council in 2013, for a 3 year term, Ann is committed to ensuring positive education experiences for all children and supporting the role parents and community play in positive learning outcomes with our diverse public education system.

Full biography

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