Kelowna candidates for school board

The Central Okanagan Board of Education will have representation from Kelowna for four trustees in the Nov. 19 civic election.

Chris Becenko

Profession: Commercial banker

Facebook Page: Chris Becenko for School Trustee for School District No.23

Family: Young daughter entering the school system

“I would like to see all children and students from our area achieve greater success and excel in education. Education is the cornerstone of our future prosperity and I am excited, motivated and passionate about playing a role in that future, for my daughter and for all children.”


Chris Gorman

Profession: Director at UBC faculty of management


Family: Two daughters, ages 1 and 4

“With two children soon to enter elementary school, I want to ensure that public education is relevant in the 21st century and prepares students to contribute to society. I will advocate for our children, am committed to getting things done, and can provide leadership, energy, and a fresh perspective.

Darren Haddrell

Profession: Producer with Astral Radio

Facebook: Darren Haddrell

Kids: A 7-month-old daughter and 3 year-old son

“An effective school board consists of members with diverse backgrounds and at various stages of life. Given my age, 35, the ages of my children, seven months and three years, and my technology-based job, I can offer a different point of view relevant to the future of the district.

Jeff Klassen

Profession: Financial planner

Family: Three children in the school system

“I am running for the position of school trustee because I believe we have a very good education which could be great. I believe that bringing my skills and passion for lifelong learning would bring a collaborative balanced view to the school board which would assist in strong planning for current and future issues.”


Joyce Brinkerhoff

Profession: ESL teacher, business manager of husband’s medical practice, mom and grandma


Facebook: Joyce Brinkerhoff for Trustee

Family: Four adult children and grand-daughter in Grade 1

“Children are valuable yet vulnerable members of society. We need strong, committed trustees to ensure students are educated for life in the larger community. Healthy, energetic, curious and respectful—we can help children be the very best they can be. This is why I want to be a school trustee.


Larry Gray

Profession: Finance broker and manufacturer’s agent

Family: 12-year-old son

“I believe public education for our kids is critically important to their future well-being and their ability to be positive contributors to our society. I will be an advocate ensuring the best possible education is delivered.  Put our kids first. I am an individual that supports political activity to improve our community.,


Mark Thompson

Profession: Pharmacist, businessman


Family: Two grandchildren in the school system

“The K-12 education system is broken. Kelowna needs a champion to negotiate for proper funding. The province has for too long bullied the teachers and the local boards. It is time to get real! People say that my greatest skill is negotiation. I have experience negotiating with provincial governments.

Murli Pendharkar

Profession: Retired superintendent of schools/compulsive volunteer


Family: Grandson in middle school

“School boards’ taxation authority was extinguished 30 years ago to provide equitable operating budgets and equal educational opportunities for B.C. students. Some school boards, including this school district, charge school bus fees, putting “the free, compulsory education” in jeopardy. Education, experience, and public service record makes me an ideal school trustee.

Richard Knight

Profession: Retired educator, musician, filmmaker


Family: One child and one grandchild

“I have 30-plus years experience in education as teacher, vice-principal and principal. I’ve served as faculty advisor at UBC Okanagan.

I am retired, so therefore I have the time. I am committed and passionate about public education.

Rolli Cacchioni

Profession: Consultant with Cacchioni consulting services


“I believe in success for all students. It is the role of a trustee to ensure that resources are effectively dedicated to that end. I have the skill set and experience to make this happen—a trustee that makes a difference.”

Torrie Fonda

Profession: Life and health insurance specialist

Family: One son in the school system

“I would be honoured to be elected as a school trustee and serve our community. As a school board member I would focus on student’s needs for success and ultimately reach their full potential.  There are many diamonds in the rough just waiting to be polished!”

Val Hristovski

Profession: Mortgage financing

Facebook: Val Hristovski for School Trustee

Family: Sons in Grade 10 and 11

“We must have a clear vision for tomorrow. It’s not just about today’s issues of needs versus finances. It’s about developing a long-term strategy to provide the necessary education and guidance for our students, educators and administrators. Remember…the students of today are tomorrow’s future.”


Greg Krasichynsky

Profession: Corporate trainer and  I/T consultant


“School District 23 acts as an intermediary between stakeholders—great strides have been made by the last (stellar) board of trustees in bringing together those who wish to play an active part in the consultation process. I am running in order to further this growth, and will regularly and faithfully consult with and represent teachers, parents, staff and every interested stakeholder with regard to providing the finest education for our kids.”