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Office of School Trustee Candidate Profiles

To educate Burnaby voters through the election process each candidate was given the option to submit a statement (one paragraph and up to 150 words), photo and contact information.

Profiles appear as provided by candidates and were not edited. Any views and opinions expressed are those of the candidates and do not reflect the position of the City of Burnaby.

Suresh BHAYANA

Suresh BHAYANA

BCA - Burnaby Citizens Association

First contesting as a Trustee in the 2002 campaign, I was unsuccessful, but only by a few votes. As a result, I learned just how much every single vote counts. I was born in Punjab, India and graduated from the University of the Punjab in Engineering in 1974. Coming to Canada in 1975, making my home here in Burnaby for more than 40 years. I have three children who graduated from our district. If elected: I will prioritize our accessible and universal system while: standing against cuts to funding, working closely with the staff and their organizations including CUPE and the Burnaby Teachers’ Association, supporting the outstanding educational results currently delivered to Burnaby students by the staff of our schools. Among my relevant experience I sat for five and six years on the City Library Board and Social Issues Committees. Please elect me, Suresh Bhayana and the Burnaby Citizens Association.

Website: www.burnabycitizens.ca
Email: info@burnabycitizens.ca
Phone: 604-210-9905
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Nomination Documents / Financial Disclosure Statement


Bill BRASSINGTON

Bill BRASSINGTON

BCA - Burnaby Citizens Association

I have lived in Burnaby for 22 years with my wife Janey. Our son and our daughter both attend our neighbourhood’s public schools. As a parent I have seen the success that the Burnaby Citizens Association team has brought to Burnaby schools. I joined the Burnaby Citizens Association team because I believe in a strong public education system and the power of neighbourhood schools to shape Burnaby. For many years, I have been a volunteer in our community. I am proudest of my four years as Chairperson of the Gilmore Community School Council, my work on various school district and city committees, and my coaching youth sports. I am excited to be on the Burnaby Citizens Association team. I look forward to serving you as an elected Trustee and to continue advocating for all of Burnaby’s children. Thank you for your support!

Website: www.burnabycitizens.ca
Email: info@burnabycitizens.ca
Phone: 604-210-9905
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Nomination Documents / Financial Disclosure Statement


Peter CECH

Peter CECH

BCA - Burnaby Citizens Association

As a long-time advocate for students with unique learning needs I have witnessed how the Burnaby School District responds to concerns from parents. I’m retired after a career as a public relations practitioner, including eight years at Metro Vancouver leading waste reduction campaigns. Having attended numerous District budget meetings, I’ve seen the positive influence the Burnaby Citizens Association has had on the decision-making processes at the School District; and how the unique relationship with the city allowed the district to withstand years of provincial cuts. I currently sit on Burnaby's Sustainable City Advisory Committee and have also served on the Traffic Safety, Transportation and Environment Committees. Strengths I would bring to the Board of Education include project management skills, a history of community advocacy and a passion for public education. With your support, I will work tirelessly to build on the significant successes of our District. Please vote: Peter Cech.

Website: www.burnabycitizens.ca
Email: info@burnabycitizens.ca
Phone: 604-210-9905
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Nomination Documents / Financial Disclosure Statement


Candidate - Melissa CHANG

Melissa CHANG

I am Melissa Chang; an involved mother of two. My eldest started Kindergarten this year and my youngest will start next September. I have a vested interest in the smooth and efficient running of the district. I spent the last two years as Vice-President on the board of BFLP during which time I gained valuable experience that I am excited to apply to a position on the school board. Things that I’d like for SD 41: Online registration for Kindergarten -the current system is antiquated and hard to navigate. Expand the Community School hot lunch program to all schools – It is time that more families enjoy the benefits of not having to worry about lunches. Strategic planning for future density – In 2016 Burnaby’s population was approximately 225,000. Burnaby estimates the population will be 320,000 by 2031. I will work to ensure our schools are ready to accommodate the increased enrollment.

Email: melissaforSD41@gmail.com
Phone: 604-762-5377
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Nomination Documents / Financial Disclosure Statement


Candidate - Christine CUNNINGHAM

Christine CUNNINGHAM

Burnaby Green Party

Christine graduated from UBC Law School in 1981. After her two sons were born, Christine worked full time, spending 27 years as a children’s lawyer. Christine worked mainly in the areas of children’s personal injury compensation and inheritance rights. She also pursued legal claims on behalf of youth in care. Christine raised her sons as a single parent. She was chair of the local “out of school” daycare committee when her sons were in elementary school. Christine encouraged her sons to be well rounded individuals, balancing academic achievement, evolving a social conscience and developing a love for music, sports and nature. Christine believes that all school children deserve equal opportunities and she believes that all children should feel safe, included and valued. Christine supports the 6 Green Party values. You can count on Christine to listen, work hard and be a caring and collaborative team player!

Website: www.BurnabyGreenParty.com
Email: christycunningha@gmail.com
Phone: 778-317-9296 (Cell)
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Nomination Documents / Financial Disclosure Statement


Candidate - Larry HAYES

Larry HAYES

BCA - Burnaby Citizens Association

After 16 years, I’m excited that we have finally had year one with a Provincial Government focussed on providing public education. Although successful in stopping the worst effects of the cuts brought by our past government, through our unique partnership with the City, I hope to be re-elected and help realize for Burnaby students the benefits of that new Provincial Government. Already we see new funding for seismic upgrades and new facilities on the way. Outside of my trustee role, I am also the executive administrator of the Burnaby Minor Hockey Association and worked 20 plus years in our corrections system. I have a BA in Criminology/Psychology from SFU and certificates in corrections from Douglas College. As a lifelong resident of Burnaby, it has been a significant pleasure to serve my community by being elected to five terms as a School Trustee. Please vote, Larry Hayes, this October.

Website: www.burnabycitizens.ca
Email: info@burnabycitizens.ca
Phone: 604-210-9905
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Nomination Documents / Financial Disclosure Statement


Candidate - Jen Yang MEZEI

Jen Yang MEZEI

BCA - Burnaby Citizens Association

As a parent of children with complex learning needs, I understand the challenges many parents face navigating the education system and see the challenges administrators, teachers and staff face in an underfunded system. I've been a strong advocate for public education in Burnaby and at the provincial level. I presented to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services during the last provincial budget process to advocate for K-12 Education funding. I received the 2010 BC Confederation of Parent Advisory Councils (BCCPAC) Parent Leadership Award, was Burnaby District Parent Advisory Council (DPAC) Chair for five years and President of the BCCPAC. I've been involved at the district and provincial level on a wide-range of educational issues including: Inclusion and Special Education, Curriculum, SOGI, Child and Youth Mental Health, Indigenous Education and Early Learning. Please support me, Jen Yang Mezei, and the entire Burnaby Citizens Association team, October 20.

Website: www.burnabycitizens.ca
Email: info@burnabycitizens.ca
Phone: 604-210-9905
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Nomination Documents / Financial Disclosure Statement


Jasmine NICHOLSFIGUEIREDO

J. (Jasmine) NICHOLSFIGUEIREDO

As an Independent Burnaby School Trustee I will work to ensure that our students have a safe and inclusive environment in order to reach their full potential. I have been involved in the education system in one capacity or another—as a student, a student teacher, and currently as a Douglas College instructor—and am passionate about our education system. My experience in the private sector and committee work at Douglas College have taught me the importance of balancing budgets to fund educational programs while simultaneously adhering to institutional strategic funding plans. I welcome the opportunity to bring well-informed and inclusive decision making to the table. A vote for Nicholsfigueiredo will send a message that Burnaby public schools are fully funded and inclusive and that all stakeholders are partners in decisions which affect our city.

Website: www.jasmine13n.wixsite.com/website
Email: bbytrusteejasmine@gmail.com
Phone: 778-384-5529
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Nomination Documents / Financial Disclosure Statement


Ryan STEWART

Ryan STEWART

BCA - Burnaby Citizens Association

Ryan believes in public education's power to prepare all students for success. A founding director-at-large of the Public Education Network Society (PENS), Ryan advocated for students and their schools from an early age. In high school, one of his first organized political acts was advocating for music education. He also stood up to trustees for banning books depicting same-sex parents. He earned a BA (with Distinction) in Political Science and Dialogue at SFU, he was an active member of the university community. He served on SFU's Board of Governors and Senate, and was a student society executive. More recently, Ryan has worked as a political advisor and organizer in BC and the Yukon. He currently works for the BC Government and Service Employees’ Union and lives with his spouse on Burnaby Mountain. On October 20, please vote for Ryan Stewart and the entire Burnaby Citizens Association team.

Website: www.burnabycitizens.ca
Email: info@burnabycitizens.ca
Phone: 604-210-9905
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Nomination Documents / Financial Disclosure Statement


Candidate - Laura-Lynn THOMPSON

Laura-Lynn THOMPSON

I am honoured to submit my name to run for the nomination as School Trustee in Burnaby, BC. It is important to have the community involved with the oversight and accountability of our education system as it involves our most precious of resources: our children. High standards of curriculum are important and ensuring that our children are getting the best possible opportunities. I will stand for anti-bullying policies, inclusivity, acceptance of our diverse culture in all areas of race, religion and sexual orientation. Schools should be a neutral zone for all ideological teachings. I do not support gender-fluid teaching or the 14 transgender story books in Grade K-5. Schools should respect the diversity of all family beliefs and religions and not promote one world view. I will boldly stand for teaching manners, love and acceptance of all children. It’s time for getting back to basics with reading, writing and arithmetic.

Website: www.lauralynn.tv
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Nomination Documents / Financial Disclosure Statement


Gary WONG

Gary WONG

BCA - Burnaby Citizens Association

I’ve been a resident of Burnaby for over 35 years and together with my wife, we raised two children who attended Burnaby’s public schools. As Chair of the Board and a Burnaby Trustee since 2008, I have seen what kind of positive impact our decision-making can have, both in ensuring Burnaby’s next generation reach their learning potential and in changing our schools into safe, accessible and well-funded institutions our community deserves. We’ve risen to the challenge of minimizing the impact of chronic provincial underfunding to Burnaby schools. Now, with a new Provincial Government, we are taking advantage of the opportunities created like: seismic upgrades, funding for safe school initiatives and new childcare spaces. If re-elected on October 20, I will continue the difficult but success-filled work of carrying forward on our long-term planning and results oriented decision-making. Please vote for me, Gary Wong, and our entire Burnaby Citizens Association team.

Website: www.burnabycitizens.ca
Email: info@burnabycitizens.ca
Phone: 604-210-9905
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Nomination Documents / Financial Disclosure Statement


Candidate - Emily ZHANG

Emily ZHANG

Burnaby Green Party

Emily Zhang held Bachelor’s Degree from Tsinghua University, China in 1993, and Master’s Degree in Environmental Engineering from the University of Windsor, Canada in 2006. Emily obtained her Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design LEED®AP credential in 2009. Emily currently works in the real estate industry, encouraging her clients to build greener housing. Emily believes in life-long learning and that education is especially important for school age children. Emily has lived in Burnaby for 12 years, with her two sons who have been educated in Burnaby. She volunteers for Parent Advisory Committee at Cameron Elementary School. Emily is running for School Trustee with the Burnaby Green Party so that she may support teachers and parents as they provide for the well-being, safety, compassion and prosperity of students. Emily also wishes to encourage environmental education and sustainable development for the younger generations.

Website: www.aoae.ca
Email: emily.aoae@gmail.com
Phone: 778-238-9478
Nomination Documents / Financial Disclosure Statement


Candidate Jimmy ZHAO

Jimmy ZHAO

A dad of a 3 years old boy who is very concerned with sex education in school.

Email: JimmyZhao200705@hotmail.com
Phone: 778-896-9388
Nomination Documents / Financial Disclosure Statement

Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to your questions about voting in the 2018 Local Government Election. Translated versions available in nine languages.

Election Office

L53-4423 Ledger Avenue
Burnaby, BC V5G 3T2 | Map

Email:   elections@burnaby.ca
Phone:  604-294-7088
Web:     www.burnaby.ca/elections