Bob Phillips

School trustee candidates

See who’s running for school board in Sooke


Bob Phillips is an incumbent School Trustee for the Milnes Landing area of School District 62 and, at 70 years of age, cites a wealth of experience as one of his greatest strengths. Among his long list of professions, he includes teacher, college instructor, public health advocate, and serving as a representative on the on the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association.

What are your top three priorities if elected?

Our first priority should be to ensure that we properly fund and resource the new curriculum. This is particularly true for children with special needs.

My second priority would be to secure funds for new schools needed in the community.

Finally, we are facing the negotiation of a new collective agreement with teachers. We have to ensure that the agreement offers fair compensation and conditions, but also that it’s something that works for kids and their families.

Why should people vote for you?

There are very few files regarding education in the past 20 years in which I’ve not had a role. My experience gives me the knowledge of what has happened in the past and the insight to know where we need to go and what we need to do.


Born and raised in Sooke, Allison Watson is in her 30s and the mother of two young girls who she describes as her emotional driving force to help shape the future of the educational system.

What are your top three priorities if elected?

In the Sooke School District’s capital plan, four schools have been identified for replacement with three of those being in Sooke. I will use my professional skills to ensure that Sooke’s schools are equally prioritized with the Westshore’s.

I plan to close the gap and secure additional funding to meet the specific needs of Sooke schools and ensure disaster readiness. Sooke has unique needs with regards to managing emergency preparedness.

We are in a time of great hope with regards to making schools relevant and welcoming spaces for all students. Students are learning in a very different environment from as little as a decade ago. (I believe in) awarding students with course credits for their partnership in creating curriculum content that adapts to these changes and reaches all students.

Why should people vote for you?

As a local, I can fulfil a major job requirement of a trustee with my deep roots here. I can be accessible and understand the public on matters affecting our students’ education. I also have experience working with students and youth in the employment, post-secondary, international education and non-profit sector.


Britt Santowski has lived in Sooke since 2005. Her daughter attends the French immersion program at Edward Milne community school.

Santowski owns and operates Sooke PocketNews and co-teaches a master’s level tourism course at Royal Roads University. She has 20 years experience in high-tech communications and has authored a book, The Three Strategies of the Unstoppable Women, which focuses in on accountability, collaboration and initiative.

What are your top three priorities if elected?

As a resident of Sooke – one of the fastest growing communities in BC – I am interested in ensuring a smart and timely school system expansion that goes beyond portables.

I am interested in advocating for a successful education system in B.C. As a parent with a child in French immersion, I am concerned that my daughter’s French immersion class has experienced a 70 per cent attrition rate.

I am also interested in looking at the future of education through the technological lens. The internet has changed everything, from bullying to personal branding to accessing information to job skills … and beyond.

Why should people vote for you?

I have worked two decades in communications and technology. Using my experience and education I am interested in advocating for a successful education system in BC.”


Neil Poirier is an incumbent for the position of school trustee with seven years of experience in the position. He is a former Sooke Parents Education Advisory Council executive member, the former president of Sooke chapter Canadian Parents for French, former president of both Poirier elementary and Journey middle school PAC as well as a parent of two children recently graduated from EMCS.

What are your top three priorities if elected?

My first priority is to advocate for capital funding to address ageing district facilities and for the construction of new schools to address the rapid student population growth in Sooke.

I also want to help create safe, inclusive and respectful school environments that inspire learning.

Finally, I want to provide learning opportunities to improve student achievement for all students.

Why should people vote for you?

I’ve spent the last seven years with a high functioning board, and being part of a growing district and a part of the system charged with the education of your students have been very rewarding. I hope to serve this community for another four years and well into the future.



Margot Swinburnson was first elected as a school trustee in 1999 and is now running for her seventh term in that position. She feels that her background in nursing gives her an appreciation of the need to improve the communication between health-care providers, the Ministry of Children and Families, education and parents and caregivers.

What are your top three priorities if elected?

We must have accurate data and information to present to the ministry so we have a good case for the new or expanded schools. As a board, we need to keep on top of this and advocate as necessary.

(We need to support) programs such as the Trades Initiatives, Academies and Advanced Placement; programs that keep our students engaged and in school. We need to create a culture of wellness in our schools, and improve communication between ministries and health authorities so students are supported and don’t fall through the cracks.

Our schools are filling up. Trustees for this zone need to continue to make sure the capital plan continues, and we move towards the new elementary school at Sun River, an upgrade or renewal to Sooke elementary.

Why should people vote for you?

First elected in 1999, my enthusiasm for education has not waned. In addition to the regular trustee responsibilities, my focus for the last number of years has been to advocate for improved health access and support for our children and youth. My goal in the next four years is to use my knowledge and experience to continue the positive gains we have made, in all areas.

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Britt Santowski

Neil Poirier

Allison Watson

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