Richmond First Trustees Launch Candidate Slate as Classes End for the 2007/2008 School Year

For Immediate Release

June 18, 2008

RICHMOND – The Richmond First banner will carry a team of five trustee candidates for the Board of Education elections to be held this Fall, Board of Education Chair Linda McPhail said today.

“I’m very pleased with the quality and caliber of the candidates that will be putting their name forward for the Fall election,” said McPhail. “Each person brings their own set of strengths and experiences to our team and I think each would be a valuable asset to the Board.”

The Richmond First Trustee candidates for the 2008 Board of Education trustee elections will include current trustees Linda McPhail, Donna Sargent and Grace Tsang. Joining the three returning trustees under the Richmond First banner is former trustee Debbie Tablotney and longtime Richmond resident and Harvard Medical School researcher Dr. Eric Yung.

Linda McPhail is a lifelong Richmond resident first elected to the Richmond Board of Education in 2002 and is currently serving in her fifth year as Board Chair. Linda’s school involvement began at the elementary school level and has included being an executive on a Parent Advisory Council and volunteering in various areas within elementary and secondary schools such as fund raising, library, early warning, scholarship committee and dry after grad. Linda is also active in the Richmond community – having served on the Board of Seafair Minor Hockey Association for 9 years, the Board for the Richmond Arena’s Community Association for 6 years and a member of the Richmond Hospital Auxiliary for 16 years.

“I’m excited to put my name forward – those who know me, know that I am passionate about public education and the vital role of locally elected trustees, “ said McPhail. “We need a strong voice to advocate for our students and for public education in Richmond.”

Donna Sargent has been a resident of Richmond for 22 years and has been actively involved with the Richmond School District for 17 years. Completing her second term as a School Trustee, Sargent currently is the Vice Chairperson of the Board of Education. Her extensive track record has given her a reputation of being a hard working, principle centered and a trustworthy team player. Some of her involvement includes Chair Personnel and Finance Committee, Council Board Liasion Committee, City of Richmond’s Sister City Committee, Richmond Substance Abuse Task Force, Traffic Safety Advisory Committee, Richmond District Parents Association President/Vice President, and School Planning Council.

“Every child in Richmond is entitled to the best education possible and a strong education system contributes to the betterment of society as a whole,” said Sargent. “Bringing the community’s voice to the table and working with our valued stakeholders is key to making the education system the best it can be.”

Grace Tsang, a Certified Financial Planner, was elected to the Richmond Board of Education in 2005 and has shown herself as a valuable team player serving as the Chair of the Education Committee as well as sitting on a half dozen other committees, including the Child Care Development Advisory Committee. Grace also takes time to serve the community in a variety of volunteer roles, including the Richmond Sunset Rotary Club and Richmond Youth Concert Band. Grace has lived in Richmond with her husband and two children since 1993.

“I’ve enjoyed serving parents, students and teachers to help make their education experience the best it can be,” said Tsang. “I’m a strong advocate of a well-rounded education so I want to ensure we’re giving students opportunities both inside and outside the classroom.”

Debbie Tablotney has resided in Richmond since 1982 and has rejoined the Richmond First Team in a bid to return to the Board of Education after narrowly missing re-election in 2005. Debbie has a long history of commitment to the school district and to the community, serving in the capacity of PAC Chair of Westwind Elementary and as Chair of the Personnel and Finance Committee for the Richmond School Board as well as Provincial Counselor for the BC School Trustees Association among others. Over the past three years she has been actively involved as Treasurer Richmond for Family Place, Richmond District Parents Association, Richmond Youth Concert Band and the Richmond Sunrise Rotary. Along with her husband Drew, Debbie operates a Family Insurance agency and has raised three sons all of whom have attended school in Richmond.

“Many members of the community encouraged me to once again seek the position of School Trustee in the upcoming civic election,” said Tablotney. “It would be an honour to once again represent students, parents, teachers and staff in ensuring a strong foundation for the success of all students.”

Dr. Eric Yung has been a Richmond resident since 1975 and is a product of Richmond’s school system. Dr. Yung has been active in various local community organizations including the International Development
Assistance Society of Canada (IDAS), and was a founding member, and Secretary to the Board, of the Vancouver Freenet. Having both attended Richmond schools himself and in the process of putting his kids into the same system, he believes in a strong sense of continuity and brings a commitment to the same high levels of scholastic opportunity he was afforded in our community.

“I’m tremendously excited to be able to represent the same school system that gave me my own opportunities,” said Yung. “Richmond has some of the finest schools and most capable staff of any school district, and I hope to be able to shepherd that dedication to excellence as my own children enter their scholastic careers here.”

Richmond First had previously announced Councillors Derek Dang and Bill McNulty along with former Councillors Ken Johnston and Kiichi Kumagai would be seeking re-election as Richmond First City Council candidates.

The next Richmond Board of Education election is set for November 15, 2008.

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