PGDTA President-Elect Shares Vision
Prince George, B.C. – There will soon be a new name atop the Prince George District Teachers’ Association.
Joanne Hapke will take over the presidency from Richard Giroday after he retires June 30. She was acclaimed president April 20 (for a one year-term) and is no stranger to the PGDTA’s head office on Queensway.
“I’ve been on the executive since 1999. I started off as our secretary-treasurer and then a few years ago I decided I wanted to make a run into the office so I was elected second vice-president and I spent the last two years as first vice-president.”
Originally from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Hapke got her start in the Prince George School District right out of teacher’s college in 1991 as a teacher at Heritage Elementary.
She says her number one goal is to continue to advocate for increased supports for classrooms in the district.
Is she feeling optimistic on that front considering the NDP is poised to form government with support from the BC Greens?
“Yes, it has to give us hope. Until things happen in the legislature it is a cautious hope and I am hopeful that this deal will mean increased funding for our education system.”
Hapke also hints that she’d like to stick around as president for more than one year (members of the executive can run for re-election each year).
“When I decided I wanted to be president my thoughts were I wanted to take us into the next strike and beyond,” she says.
“I’m now hopeful that I’m looking at taking us into the next negotiation of bargaining and beyond and that we’re going to be having a government that will negotiate with us and we won’t be setting up a picket line in 2019 but signing a new contract.”
Hapke adds she’s “excited to be taking on this challenge” and continuing with the positive relationship her office has with the Prince George School District.
“We have a great district that we work with. I’d like to keep our respectful, collaborative relationship. It is unique, we’re not the only ones in the province but we are certainly a unique district in the province.”