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New head of the class

The BCTF has a new president-elect – as it turns out, a close friend of Jody Vance.

Who’s the new guy?

After fulfilling her maximum three year term current BC Teachers Federation President Teri Mooring is exiting her position this June. The BCTF head is always a major public figure in BC, but after becoming even more of a household name through COVID-19, Mooring leaves some big shoes.

Enter Clint Johnston.

Elected at this week’s BCTF annual general meetings, Johnston was uncontested – but likely faces much more daunting challenges ahead. Staffing shortages, teacher burnout from COVID stress, pay structures, as well as challenges of evolving the curriculum to be more inclusive for LGBTQ2S+ students and incorporating more Indigenous and First Nations history.

Johnston is a local boy who has worked his way to the top of the BC teachers’ ladder. His career began in the classroom in his hometown of Chilliwack, a place Clint described as “a bit monochromatic” during our radio interview Tuesday. He spoke of the importance of mediation and discussion in districts where subjects, like SOGI123, might experience some pushback.

He went on to lead the Chilliwack Teachers Union before joining the BCTF in 2016 as 2nd Vice President under Glen Hansman, moving up to vice president under Hansman’s successor Teri Mooring, a role he’s held ever since, re-elected each year at the AGM.

Until now, Clint has been behind the scenes, focusing on the strategy and bargaining arm of the BCTF. In fact, he’s simultaneously held the VP role in this province as well as with the Canadian Teachers Federation. Busy at the bargaining table as a hands on mediator, moderator and negotiator.

I know all this not because of some hasty homework, but because he’s also a close friend.

I blame our boys.

The Johnstons moved to our neighbourhood in 2017. My boy arrived home from grade 5 announcing he’d found a new friend.

That kid became a regular at our taco Tuesdays and invited my boy to his birthday.

I went on to meet Clint as we hung out over cupcakes at the Parkour Vancouver party. It wasn’t until the last minute carpool home that we got to the “so what do you do?”

In my experience, Clint Johnston immediately shows you who he is and doesn’t waver.

For those watching this BCTF changing of the guard more closely than ever before – rarely have the challenges of keeping schools safe, stocked and staffed been so steep – I have the upmost confidence.

Keep an ear out and get to know the new guy.