Sooke school board chair ousted after six years at helm

Hobbs informed of lack of support, steps aside before elections

The Sooke School District’s Board of Education has a new chair.

Bob Phillips, who accepted a nomination from fellow trustee Ravi Parmar, was installed Tuesday as head of the board when previous chair Wendy Hobbs chose not to accept a nomination from trustee Denise Riley.

Rather than run for a seventh consecutive year, Hobbs read a prepared statement to the board and those in attendance.

“I have been thinking about this. Although I would like to continue the work we have done as a board in the past, it has come to my attention from a trustee … I do not have his support, or full support of the board,” Hobbs said. “The job of board chair here is difficult enough when you do have full support and even more strenuous without it. For that reason I have made a decision not to stand for the position of chair.”

Following her statement, Hobbs stood up and walked out of the meeting before elections were complete and rest of the board meeting began, saying she was heading to watch her granddaughter in her first PACE performance.

In a follow-up interview, Hobbs did not name the non-supportive trustee, and said she hadn’t heard any reason why she no longer had the support of the board.

“It’s very difficult for me,” she said. “I felt the board has been doing great; it ran well, got things done, was going in right direction.

“So to be told I need change was a bit shocking to me … I knew I didn’t have enough votes to become chair … I felt that I would not run so the majority of trustees could have the change they wanted.”

Elections concluded with Dianna Seaton taking over Phillips’ previous position of vice-chair, Margot Swinburnson the provincial council representative, Neil Poirier taking the spot as the B.C. Public School Employers Association representative and Ravi Parmar as the BCPSEA alternate. None of the elections went to a vote, as all positions were acclaimed.

Despite taking over her long-time position as chair, Phillips said he was grateful for the work Hobbs has done over the years.

“There are no adjectives that could describe the amount of time that is required when you are building new schools, when you are having job action, when you are having government changes,” he said.

“This is why Wendy leads the polls, she is so completely caring when it comes to kids and families and staff … She should feel justifiably proud of all of the things she has done for this district.”

Phillips described himself as a poor farm boy from Ontario who became a clinical social worker. He taught in Africa twice, taught at university and has been a school trustee for 19 years.

“I really don’t see any difference in the direction or the work or whatever that goes on with the board. The voice and the face change,” Phillips said. “Wendy and I worked closely together and we will continue to (do so). The story to me is how do we continue to support our staff and produce the educational outcomes that are expected from a board and a superintendent.”

alim@goldstreamgazette.com

Just Posted

University of Victoria researchers received more than $9 million from the federal government for projects that aim to advance big ideas, discoveries and innovations. (Photo courtesy of UVic)
University of Victoria research boosted with more than $9 million in federal funding

The research funding will support a wide range of projects and study

Two volunteers work to sieve a sample of sand and ocean water through a filter, capturing any potential microplastics. (Courtesy of Ocean Diagnostics)
Victoria startup making waves in microplastics research

New products from Ocean Diagnostics will make research faster, more affordable

Willows Beach in Oak Bay. (Black Press Media file photo)
Seven days of sun set to shine on Greater Victoria

Special weather statement warns of higher than usual temperatures

Chef Trevor Randle leads a June 21 online cooking featuring recipes – beef zesty lettuce wraps, blueberry strudel and blueberry spritzer. (Courtesy We Heart Local BC)
Free online cooking course explores B.C. blueberries and beef

Chef Trevor Randle calls them the province’s most flavourful foods

Island Savings kick-starts the Equipped to Heal campaign with $120,000. (Courtesy Victoria Hospitals Foundation)
Latest Victoria Hospitals Foundation campaign targets $1M for mental health

Goal is to outfit new 19-bed unit at Eric Martin Pavilion

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

A Lotto 6/49 ticket purchased in Parksville for the June 19, 2021 draw is a $3M winner. (Submitted photo)
Winning Lotto 6/49 ticket worth $3M purchased on Vancouver Island

Lottery prize winners have 52 weeks to claim jackpot

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

This undated file photo provided by Ernie Carswell & Partners shows the home featured in the opening and closing scenes of The Brady Bunch in Los Angeles. Do you know the occupation of Mike Brady, the father in this show about a blended family? (Anthony Barcelo/Ernie Carswell & Partners via AP, File)
QUIZ: A celebration of dad on Father’s Day

How much do you know about famous fathers?

Most Read