Strength, Experience, Headline Richmond First Trustee Slate

For Immediate Release

September 19, 2011

RICHMOND – The Richmond First banner will carry a team of four trustee candidates for the Board of Education elections to be held this Fall, Board of Education Trustee Donna Sargent said today.

“I’m very pleased with the depth and experience of our team standing for election in November,” said Sargent. “The strength and experience of each member will serve to complement one another, and will create an exceptional slate that I firmly believe will be a valuable asset to our school district.”

The Richmond First candidates for the 2011 Board of Education trustee elections include current trustees Donna Sargent , Debbie Tablotney, and Grace Tsang. Joining the three returning trustees under the Richmond First banner is longtime Richmond resident, Harvard Medical School researcher, and three-term President of the Richmond District Parents Association, Dr. Eric Yung.

The Richmond First Trustee team will be standing on five key principles when seeking a mandate from voters in November.

1) Proven and proactive fiscal leadership.
2) Building communities around neighbourhoods of learning.
3) Supporting safe, healthy, and environmentally sustainable schools.
4) Promoting positive parent, teacher, and student relationships.
5) Continuing to improve student achievement.

Donna Sargent has been a resident of Richmond for 25 years and has been actively involved with the Richmond School District for since 1991. Completing her third term as a School Trustee, Donna is currently the 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 Chairperson of the Personnel and Finance Committee, Chairperson of the Council Board Liaison Committee, Special Purpose Task Force on Land Issues, Career Development Advisory Committee, City of Richmond’s Sister City Committee, Richmond Substance Abuse Task Force, Traffic Safety Advisory Committee, and Richmond District Parents Association President/Vice President.

“I feel my voice of reason and common sense approach helps bring the community’s voice to the Board table,” said Sargent. “Today more than ever, our Richmond School District needs knowledgeable, passionate, caring leaders that will work hard for the students of Richmond.”

Debbie Tablotney, a Richmond resident since 1982, was first elected to the Richmond Board of Education in 2002 and was re-elected again in 2008. Debbie has demonstrated a long history of commitment to both the school district and her community. She is currently serving as the Vice-Chair of the Board of Education, Chair of the Personnel / Finance Committee and City Council School Board Liaison. She also attends the Sister City Committee, and has been the Provincial Counselor for the BC School Trustees Association. Among her extensive volunteer work, she has served as a treasurer for Richmond Family Place, the RDPA, Richmond Youth Concert Band, Richmond Toastmasters and Richmond Sunrise Rotary. She also served 4 years as the PAC Chair of Westwind Elementary School. Debbie operates a Family Insurance agency and has raised three sons all of whom have attended school in Richmond.

“I enjoy working with and listening to all stakeholders to ensure our education system is taking advantage of ideas and addressing challenges,” said Tablotney. “We need to continue building on this foundation to ensure students, parents, and educators all play an important role in making our schools even better.”

Grace Tsang, a Certified Financial Planner, was first elected to the Richmond Board of Education in 2005 and has served as Chair of the Audit Committee, Vice Chair of the Personnel & Finance Committee, and as the Board’s representative to the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority and B.C. Public Schools Employers’ Association. Grace has also served as Education Committee Chair, and as a member of the City of Richmond’s Sister City Committee and Child Care Development Advisory Committee. Grace has lived in Richmond with her husband and two children since 1993.

Grace’s volunteer experience with the Richmond School District includes: PAC fundraiser, volunteer interpreter and dry grad. In addition, Grace has served as Director for the BCIT Alumni Association, Richmond Youth Concert Band and Richmond Sunset Rotary Club.

“I’ve enjoyed serving parents, students and teachers to help make their education experience the best it can be and to maximize student achievement,” 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.”

Dr. Eric Yung has been a Richmond resident since 1975 and has attended Richmond’s public school system from Quilchena Elementary to graduation from Richmond High School. He has been very active in various local community organizations including serving as President of the Richmond District Parents Association, Secretary of the International Development Assistance Society of Canada (IDAS, a charitable organization dedicated to raising funds for international disaster relief and infrastructure assistance), a member of the For Children We Care Fundraising committee for BC Children’s Hospital, and a founding member and Secretary of the Vancouver Freenet. Eric has two young children, a daughter entering Grade 3 this year, and a son who is still in preschool.

“I’m passionate about ensuring that the next generation of children have the same opportunities as I did growing up in Richmond.,” said Yung. “With key policies like all-day kindergarten, and a focus on personalized learning in the 21st century, I feel a renewed emphasis on our youngest children is required, and I will bring that emphasis to the board table.”

Last week, Richmond First announced Councillors Derek Dang, Ken Johnston, Bill McNulty, and former School Board Chairperson Linda McPhail are seeking election as Richmond First City Council candidates in November.

The next Richmond Board of Education election is set for November 19, 2011.

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