After a lengthy career in local government, Martin Taylor wants to use his experience as a trustee on School District No. 57’s (SD57) board of education.
Taylor spent 29 years working in senior management for local governments in Alberta.
“I started off as a Parks and Recreation Director and I became a chief administrative officer (CAO) mostly to small towns in Alberta,” said Taylor.
After retirement, he decided to move back to Prince George, where his daughters attended high school and where he now has a grandson who attends Ecole Lac des Bois.
However, he is also the sole proprietor of a municipal consulting company and over the last few years has provided that service as an interim CAO for Vanderhoof, Houston and Fort. St. James.
“I thought I had the time and the energy and some experience to offer so that’s basically why I stepped forward,” said Taylor, when asked why he’s chosen to run as a trustee.
“I think education is extremely important to our society. We need to make sure that we give students a good reason to attend public schools and education and to make sure that they learn and grow.”
Near the beginning of his career, Taylor said he also spent three years working as a school coordinator for a board of education in Saskatoon.
He says his experience working in local government, board and committees allows him to understand the role of a trustee.
“I think you understand the role of a board trustee is policy. You're not management and some people struggle with that when they get elected. I think for me, I would understand the roles and responsibilities between our school trustees and the superintendent or the management role,” added Taylor.
He said he thinks one of the biggest issues facing SD57 is the culture of the school board, which is currently under the advisement of a provincial special advisory committee after governance issues were chronicled in an initial 2021 special advisors report.
“Well, having to observe this at a distance and now up close, there’s been quite a few issues with the board, some board trustees that are resigning midway through their term and quite a few superintendents have come and gone in four-or-five years and those are pretty major issues for the board,” said Taylor.
“We need to ensure that we address those concerns that there were in the provincial report, and make sure that the strategic plan is actually achievable,” added Taylor.
“But the primary focus needs to be about the students from K to 12 and he made sure that we're providing them the best possible programs and environment.”
Taylor said his focus has always been on community ever since he started in recreation and worked his way up to being a CAO.
He says he’s always been a very active member of the various communities that he’s lived in.
“I have an open door policy, I understand things that are not always black and white. Sometimes things are grey,” said Taylor.
“I'm sort of a focused individual, and I would remind myself and others, let's be focused as things are going to be thrown at us because changes are constant now. We need to remind ourselves why we stepped up and we should be following the mandate and the values of the board.”
On Oct. 15 voters will have to elect five trustees to represent Prince George on the board of education.