Rick Price – Chair
With a lengthy career focused on public education, Rick Price brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Board of Education. Since beginning his teaching career in Squamish in the early 1970s, Rick has spent forty years as a Teacher, Principal and Trustee within School District No.48 (Sea to Sky). He holds a Masters Degree in Curriculum Studies from the University of British Columbia, and has worked for the University of Victoria and Malaspina University training the next generation of teachers.
Rick’s volunteer commitments are varied; he is the past Chair of Communities that Care, a mobilization project aimed at preventing six youth health and behavior problems (teen pregnancy, substance abuse, violence, delinquency, school drop out and depression). He is also a past member of Squamish Search and Rescue. Rick has previously served the Board of Education in the position of Chairperson for six years.
As the father of two adult daughters and grandfather of two grandchildren, Rick loves to be surrounded by his family and friends. Proud to call Brackendale home, Rick resides in the same house he built over forty years ago! This noted, one might be hard pressed to find Rick at home, as he is more likely to be found exploring the outdoors. He has a passion for backpacking, hiking and cycling, and recently rode from Canada to Mexico. Other international trips have included sailing from Victoria to Maui, Hawaii.
Rick strongly believes that public education is a cornerstone of our democracy and our society. He recognizes that the Board of Education has a responsibility to provide compelling and engaging learning opportunities to students, and asserts that our education system must be flexible enough to respond effectively to changes in the cultural/societal context.
Ian Kent – Vice-Chair
Equipped with an undergraduate degree and Master’s degree in Education from the University of British Columbia, Ian Kent has served as a Teacher, Vice-Principal, Principal and Assistant Superintendent of schools within School District No.48 for the past 35 years. Now retired, he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to his first term as a School Trustee.
With a passion for biking, hiking and skiing, Ian dedicates his time to helping others enjoy the outdoors through sport. Ian is an avid volunteer at the Whistler Olympic Park, where he helps to facilitate sporting events, including the introduction of biathlon. Ian is currently completing his first year as the Chair of the Squamish United Church. Happily married for over 35 years, Ian and his wife raised three children in Squamish, each having attended School District No.48 schools. He still loves to immerse himself in the classroom, and will often be found helping out in classes with students of all ages.
Ian holds a three-tier educational philosophy, where he believes that “all children can learn”, that students learn best if they are active, engaged and learning in a variety of ways, and that we must provide safe learning environments for all students.
Rebecca Barley – Trustee
A long-time resident of D’Arcy, Rebecca Barley is highly engaged in community initiatives and serves as the Chairperson of the St’at’imc Tribal Police, represents N’Quatqua as a director of the St’at’imc Government Service and is a member of the SGS/BCH Steering Committee. Rebecca has also held elected office since 2001 in several capacities; Counsellor for the N’Quatqua for 8 years, alternate Director for Area C (SLRD) for 1 year, and School Trustee for the past 6 years. This is Rebecca’s third term on the Board of Education for School District No.48.
Outside of representing her community on several boards, Rebecca also volunteers her time by serving as a driver for sporting events and school dances, and is a committee member with Winds of Change and the Recreation Advisory Committee.
Describing herself as a ‘kid at heart’, Rebecca practices enthusiastic spontaneity by always being open to trying new things. Born and raised in N’Quatqua and having been educated from Kindergarten through Grade 12 within School District No.48, Rebecca chose to raise her three daughters within the community she grew up knowing and loving. Now in grades 9, 11 and first year university, Rebecca and her daughters find time to bake, hike with friends and travel. She believes that the same principles she applies in her parenting can be applied to her responsibilities as a School Trustee; these include providing a safe environment, being inclusive to all, and teaching students how to make good decisions without jeopardizing their freedom to make their own choices.
Celeste Bickford – Trustee
Celeste Bickford is a scientist with a background in biochemistry and biostatistical analysis. She is currently completing a doctorate at the University of British Columbia in the School of Population and Public Health, Faculty of Medicine, specializing in research on maternal/child health. Celeste’s interests include understanding how students’ experiences within the school system impact their health and well-being. Evidence-based decision making (i.e. looking to the academic literature to guide the creation of policy) is of great importance to her.
In Celeste’s role as a Trustee, she hopes to support a school system that fosters positive experiences and relationships and helps every child reach their full potential. As an immigrant to Canada, she understands the importance of gaining a solid education in terms of having the ability to compete academically on an international level. As the wife of a composer, she appreciates the important impact that exposure to music and art can have on a child. As a mother of two young children, she has observed how critical positive adult-child relationships and connections are. Celeste believes that we can have an enormous impact by simply seeing the good in children so that they can see the good in themselves and then use their strengths to make positive contributions to society, no matter what they choose to do once they leave the school system.
Celeste brings more than two years of experience in local government as the Alternate Director for Area D of the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District and is honoured to now serve our community as a Trustee on the School District No. 48 Board of Education.
Michelle Butler – Trustee
Originally from New Zealand, Michelle has been living in the Sea to Sky for 12 years and made Pemberton ‘home’ almost 10 years ago. She enjoys the outdoors and the variety of activities the corridor provides. A busy mother with two children who attend elementary school in Pemberton, Michelle stays active through running and walking her 2 puppies. She lists reading and playing games with her children as her favourite activities. Michelle works as a Medical Office Assistant at the Pemberton Medical Clinic.
A past member of the Parent Advisory Council (PAC) executive at Signal Hill Elementary School, Michelle is an engaged and active member of the community, volunteering for various organizations and events in Pemberton over the years.
With her love for her local community, Michelle is a passionate advocate for public education and believes that every child has the right to equal opportunities in education. Michelle is excited for her first term as School Trustee and is looking forward to the knowledge and experience she will gain from this position.
Cynthia Higgins – Trustee
With a dedication to the concept of life long learning and a strong personal interest in understanding the methods and practices of teaching, Cynthia Higgins is excited to begin her first term as a school trustee. She is grateful to be working in the beautiful Sea to Sky school district and is honoured to be participating in this role on the traditional territory of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, Úxwumixw and St’át’yemc Nation. It is her belief that a rich and robust public school education is key to personal self actualization, flourishing communities and a successful society.
Cynthia holds an undergraduate degree from Brock University in psychology and a master’s degree from the University of Victoria in early childhood education. Her personal and professional experiences range from assisting children with special needs in the classroom to teaching preschool programs in Whistler to designing and leading summer reading clubs at the Whistler Public Library. These combined education and professional experiences have helped Cynthia to develop a deep understanding of the fundamental concepts on which the Pathways to Learning curriculum are founded upon. Cynthia’s personal philosophy of education aligns with that of the district in the shared belief that all children are capable of success when provided with an environment in which to thrive.
Cynthia is married and has two busy teenage children currently enrolled in the Sea to Sky school district. She enjoys nights when everyone is home for dinner at the same time and mornings when everyone makes their own lunches. She describes herself as a skier who could use some lessons, a valley trail bike rider and one who appreciates her family, friends and all the good fortune we are surrounded with. She is looking forward to being a part of the Sea to Sky School District, and working together with all stakeholders to meet the goals as outlined in our districts strategic plan. On a personal note she states “How could you not be inspired to be here when the vision statement of the district is “children run to learn here!”
Rachael Lythe – Trustee
Well rounded with an undergraduate degree in Political Science, French and Music from Victoria University in Wellington, New Zealand, Rachael has a wide array of professional and voluntary experiences which she brings to the Board of Education. Amidst starting and running her own event planning company, Rachael holds her teachers’ certification in piano and is qualified with the Canadian Ski Instructors Association (CSIA). This is Rachael’s second term as a Board of Education Trustee, and she has previously served on the Spring Creek Community School PAC (Parent Advisory Council), the PAC Executive at Spring Creek Community School, and the School Planning Council (SPC).
Originally hailing from New Zealand, Rachael has called Whistler ‘home’ for the past 18 years. A busy mother with two sons, who attend elementary and secondary school in Whistler, Rachael stays active through CrossFit, skiing and biking. She lists cooking and reading as activities that ground her. Rachael is a proud volunteer with many community initiatives, including the Whistler Animals Galore (WAG), for which she currently serves as a board member. Rachael has often been found accompanying performance groups in the Whistler region as a pianist.
Rachael is passionate about public education, and believes that every child has the right to equal opportunities in education no matter what their financial background or abilities to learn. She is a strong supporter of the ‘4 Cs’ of the Pathways of our School District’s Education Plan as being a keen observer of the changes and improvements in our schools and her own children’s work in a short period of time. Rachael places learning at the core of everything she does, and values greatly the notion of being a ‘lifelong learner’.