One of B.C.'s most outspoken advocates for Vancouver's public schools will soon be sharing her thoughts on education with readers of this website.
Patti Bacchus was elected three times to the Vancouver school board, topping the polls in every election from 2008 to 2014. She's also the longest-serving chair of the board, remaining in this position throughout her tenure.
In each of her last two runs for office, the Georgia Straight's new K-12 education columnist received more than 70,000 votes.
That threshold has only been surpassed by three mayoral candidates in Vancouver history. Green councillor Adriane Carr is the only council candidate who's ever received more than 70,000 votes.
Bacchus was born and raised in Vancouver and is a University of Victoria political science grad. She also graduated from the Langara journalism program.
As a trustee, she was a strong advocate for amendments to the sexual orientation and gender identities policy and regulations. This was welcomed by the LGBT community and its allies for making public schools far more welcoming to trans students.
She steadfastly opposed efforts to close public schools and fought the B.C. Liberal government's push for the board to sell the Kingsgate Mall, which generates significant revenue for the school district.
Before being elected and later as a trustee, Bacchus also pushed for seismic upgrades to public schools, which led to several agreements being reached with the provincial government.
Last year, then education minister Mike Bernier fired Bacchus and eight other trustees just as they were about to pass their annual budget.