The Cariboo-Chilcotin School District has elected a new board chair.
Ciel Patenaude was named the new board chair, taking over for Willow Macdonald, who had held the position for the past two years.
Patenaude, who resides in the Horsefly area, has served as the vice-board chair for the last two years. She said that she felt it was her natural progression to run for board chair after Macdonald decided to step down.
“I feel right now with the administration that we have and with the relationships that are happening, it didn’t feel like a huge responsibility to take on. It feels pretty excellent to be affiliated with the people that are currently managing the School District,” she said. “It seemed like a natural progression process for me to step into the board chair, and the rest of the board was in support of it. It felt a really exciting experience to take on.”
She said that due to Macdonald’s work, she feels that her job going forward will be much easier.
“In all honesty, she did the entirety of the heavy lifting of really building some good relationships within the District and healing some riffs that happened previously,” she said. “She was ready to step down from the position and wanted me to take it on, and it feels really great to be in but it is a far less dramatic sort of circumstance than she walked into. Overall as a district, we are in such a good place right now.”
Patenaude noted if it wasn’t for how cohesive the school board is, she wasn’t sure if she would have accepted the position.
“I work full-time, I am doing an online Master’s, I have two small children, and I sit on the school board, and I live out in the country, so we have a pretty busy life, so I was hesitant at first to take it on, but Willow was super supportive. We are composed of seven women. Most of us are friends; we get along really well. There’s really excellent conversations and disagreements about how we are going to, or how things should be attended to, but fundamentally there’s so much respect and so much support and comradery in the whole organization.”
Angie Delainey will move into Patenaude’s previous role as vice-board chair.
Both Patenaude and Delainey will serve their positions until the next school board election in two years.
Superintendent of Schools with the Cariboo-Chilcotin School District Chris van der Mark added that the School District is grateful for Macdonald’s work over the past couple of years.