Erica McLean grew up on the Gitxsan First Nation several hundred kilometers west of Prince George
After years of working as an Indigenous education worker and community school coordinator, Erica McLean is now running for a seat on School District No. 57’s board of education.
“I was inspired to run for a trustee position after many conversations with fellow community members,” said McLean.
“What I gathered, and affirmed my own observations, from many of those conversations is: people care greatly about the well-being and education of our children and our school district is in a challenging position right now. It is struggling.”
McLean said she’s spent many years in her profession connecting dots to spark collaboration and intends to do exactly that as a trustee.
“To connect conversations in order to strengthen collaboration so we can move forward with people on the front lines who are empowered to go to work each day because they have the tools they need.”
McLean worked in SD57 from 2012 to 2022 as an Indigenous education worker and community school coordinator, working in over thirty elementary and secondary schools.
She graduated from the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) in an undergraduate and graduate program.
McLean grew up on the Gitxsan First Nation, several hundred kilometers west of Prince George.
“I am an Indigenous person who grew up on a reserve. As a teenager, I was a bit lost on my journey, at times. I now have the benefit of hindsight as a product of education,” said McLean.
“School sports, caring adults and books were the small but critical pieces of my childhood that helped me get through those times of feeling lost and like I don’t belong. This work is meaningful, it’s powerful and we have an opportunity to create a narrative for our students. My hope is to help create a space for educators to do that.”
She said that SD57 is facing many difficult and complex challenges right now and her personal approach is to step back and look at the bigger picture.
“What I can see right now is that our community and our system need hope. It has been a very difficult few years for SD57. I can confirm as a former employee of SD57 the teachers, administration and support staff care so much about this work,” said McLean.
“If we can come together as a community and collectively build the narrative – we all have a role in supporting education for our kids – our students of this community will feel that. And there’s no way of telling how powerful that can be for our children. “
McLean said while she does not have much experience in the role of a trustee, she will approach each vote and each conversation through the lens of vulnerable students, schools with fewer resources than others, and students in rural schools.
“These are three factors where needs greatly differ but are equally important,” said McLean.
On Oct. 15 voters will have to elect five trustees to represent Prince George on the board of education.