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Prince George parents call for school board transparency

DPAC says the removal of Superintendent Cindy Heitman is both ‘shocking and disappointing’
Chair Rachael Weber (pictured through Zoom) pictured with Trustees during the school board inauguration.

In a statement, the SD57 District Parent Advisory Council (DPAC) is expressing concern and calling for transparency after the departure of the superintendent and two trustees from the district.

“DPAC is extremely saddened and disappointed by the decision of the Board of Trustees to remove Cindy Heitman from the role of Superintendent.”

DPAC Chair Laura Weller said Heitman’s 28 years of experience in SD57 has been invaluable and that her passion for education inspiring.

“She’s always been willing to engage with DPAC and parents on any topic, and has also always been keen to look for innovative ways to support students and families.”

Weller said DPAC is strongly concerned in the sudden change of leadership and the inexperience of the board, as well as the impending lawsuit from Anita Richardson, the previous superintendent.

“Over the past seven years, we’ve witnessed a lack of consistent leadership and we want to see stability and consistency in district leadership to advance the goals in the Strategic Plan.”

Weller noted that on Feb. 28 the board deferred final approval of a number of policies, which had been in development for years, to give the new trustees more time to feel confident in their decisions.

“This sudden removal of Ms. Heitman, with her experience and commitment to public education and our district, is both shocking and disappointing.”

She said DPAC feels that ongoing leadership change will continue to impact the region’s ability to hire and retain educators and support staff.

Weller said the additional loss of trustees Betty Bekkering and Gillian Burnett – who have significant experience in public education leadership – raises even more questions and concerns regarding the remaining board members in terms of trust, transparency, and their preparedness to take on their roles.

“We ask the remaining members of the Board to be transparent with us about how they’ve come to make these decisions as it aligns to risk management, stability, and progress in public education.”