Rachael Weber is one of two candidates running in Mackenzie in the School District 57 byelection, happening on Jan. 15.
The Citizen asked each candidate running in the byelection to answer the following five questions:
Q: What skills, experience and knowledge do you bring to the table from your professional, volunteer and personal background?
A: I am a mother to two wonderful kids currently in SD 57. I worked for the McLeod Lake Indian Band in education for the past three years. During this time, I worked very closely with SD 57 in many capacities. I sat on many committees within the district and worked with both schools in Mackenzie. I also sit as a director for the Mackenzie Chamber of Commerce. I am well versed with the local community and the issues our town faces with rural education and the economy.
Q: What do you think the most important issue facing School District 57 is, and what would you like to do about it?
A: I know relationships with the First Nations communities have been strained for a long time. I want to bring about change and bring forward truth and transparency. I want to hold the board accountable for every decision they make both in the present and from the past. I want it to be fair and equitable for every student in SD 57. Based on the report from (Education Minister Jennifer) Whiteside, we know that SD 57 needs serious help. We have heard this over and over again from teachers, students and parents. I want to be their voice and make sure they are heard at a board level.
Q: Do you support a mandatory COVID-19 vaccine mandate for school district teachers and staff? Why or why not?
A: I am not a doctor or medical professional. What you believe and/or do when it comes to making decisions like this is none of my business. What is my business is fighting for every single child within SD 57 and making sure every child can learn in a safe environment while offering them the best educational experiences they can have while in school. Raising them up with the skills they will need to be successful in the real world.
Q: Do you support the creation of two additional, dedicated trustee positions for the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation and McLeod Lake Indian Band? Why or why not?
A: Of course I fully support the creation of two additional dedicated trustee positions for Lheidli T'enneh and McLeod Lake Indian Band. Land acknowledgements are so important, but does anyone know why we do them or is it something we just do because it makes the board look good?! I believe that if the school board is making land acknowledgements at every meeting, and we are acknowledging our first nation communities in every school across the district, then their government should be at the board just like all the other towns who sit at this table. This shouldn't be something we just do, but should have real meaning and respect behind it. This is real reconciliation and a great way to start repairing the damage SD 57 has done in the past.
Q: Why are you the best person for the job of school board trustee?
A: I want every child in SD 57 to succeed. I want to see relationships with the First Nations mended and to cultivate these relationships with truth and transparency. I will fight for this town of Mackenzie and McLeod Lake and make sure the students are not left behind. Being a rural town, our students get forgotten about for many reasons. I want to make sure that this won't happen again. I want our teachers and CUPE to be happy when they go to work, I want the parents to finally be able to relax, knowing their kids are being taught properly and having the best educational experiences they can get. Since I have worked with SD 57 in the past, I am up to date on all the issues they are facing right now. The wool can't be pulled over my eyes, like it could with someone who is new and knows nothing of the situations this school district is facing. I want to be the voice of Mackenzie and McLeod Lake and when it comes to our children, fight for every single one of them.