At the end of this school year, Jim Iker, an elementary teacher from Burns Lake in northern BC, will take over from current BCTF President Susan Lambert as leader of the 41,000-member BC Teachers’ Federation.
Although she has mixed feelings about retiring, Lambert said she’s confident in passing the role on to Iker. “Jim is a very strong, kind-hearted and principled activist, a person of tremendous personal integrity,” said Lambert.
Iker, 60, is a veteran Kindergarten and primary classroom teacher, school counsellor, learning assistance and special needs teacher. He holds an honours BA from McMaster and a B.Ed. from Dalhousie.
As president of the Burns Lake District Teachers’ Union, Iker negotiated one of the stronger local collective agreements in BC, an agreement that was eliminated by BC Liberal legislation in 2002. He has also acted as chief negotiator on the provincial bargaining team, and served three years as second vice-president and another three years as first vice-president of the BCTF.
“I believe in leadership that is thoughtful, respectful, and responsive,” Iker says. He identifies his key objectives as:
- Achieving a fair collective agreement for teachers that restores class-size and class-composition guarantees;
- Increased resources in classrooms and more support for students, especially those with special needs; and
- Restored education funding to begin to bring BC at least up to the Canadian average. Right now per-student funding in BC is almost $1,000 less than the national average.
Taking over the position of first vice-president is Glen Hansman, who currently serves as second vice-president with responsibilities including outreach to locals and liaison with the K-12 Aboriginal Education Stakeholders Group.
Hansman, who holds his MA from UBC, B.Ed. from McGill, and BA from Carleton, has both elementary and secondary teaching experience. More recently he served as the Vancouver School Board’s Anti-Homophobia and Diversity Consultant and as president of the Vancouver Elementary School Teachers’ Association. Like Iker, Hansman was acclaimed in his new post.
Teri Mooring, president of the Quesnel Teachers’ Association, was elected second vice-president. An intermediate teacher with more than two decades of experience, Mooring holds a BA from SFU and M.Ed. from UNBC.