Newly elected Fraser hopes to improve education system

Julia Fraser knows it will be a steep learning curve, but she is excited to get to work as school trustee in the District of West Kelowna.

Julia Fraser was elected District of West Kelowna school trustee on Nov. 19. She says she is committed to improving the education system for all children.

Julia Fraser admits she has a lot to learn; however, she is “truly excited” about the opportunity to represent the District of West Kelowna as school trustee.

“I’m very honoured that the voters have entrusted me with this very important role,” said Fraser.

“I think the community is confident that I will be able to achieve great things and that I have the interests of all stakeholders at heart.”

Fraser was elected to the position on Nov. 19 after receiving 1,829 votes. Her closest challenger, Tina Pomponio, earned 1,255 votes.

According to Fraser, her campaign involved a lot of listening.

“I have been to 3,000 homes and listened at over 1,000 doors during my campaigning. I will keep listening to all parts of the community in the three years ahead.”

Her motivation for earning the position was to create a better environment for students.

“The reason why I (ran) for school trustee is because I am committed to improving the education system for all children.

“I believe that my perspective on the education system is grassroots and serves both ends of the spectrum from elementary age to high school students.”

Fraser has been married to her husband Stuart for 22 years and has two children.

She has been a businesswoman for 24 years and hopes to use that experience to her advantage in the new position.

“With my vast experience in sales, I have earned the ability to negotiate and be persuasive, which will enable me to lobby the government for increased funding for education on behalf of students, parents and teachers.”

Fraser has one year of experience in the classroom setting as a substitute teacher in School District 57. Fraser said the experience provided her with insights into the challenges that the school system faces.

She has also worked on a school planning council and is the president of the Chief Tomat Elementary Parent Advisory Council.

According to Fraser, one of the biggest challenges of parent advisory councils is parental involvement. She said she hopes to open the lines of communication so that parents can voice their opinions and be heard.

“How well parents exercise their rights determines what degree or quality of services they get in public schools.”

Fraser said she also hopes to strengthen consultation between the community and public school board.

During her campaign, Fraser was asked what she would do to improve literacy in West Kelowna’s schools.

“I (will) advocate for additional funding to our libraries: We need current, interesting resources to engage our students and we need full-time teacher librarians who are one of our greatest resources for instilling the love of reading.”

Another issue that Fraser is passionate about is reviewing the catchment areas in order to create a better sense of community.

“I know at least 20 families are commuting their children from Chief Tomat Elementary School area to Rose Valley or Shannon Lake schools. We need to seriously review and consider changing those catchment areas so that the children stay within their community.”