Trudy Handel is running for one of the five Langley Township seats on the Langley Board of Education.
“This summer, I was talking with teachers on strike, and they told me what they’re facing in the classroom. It reminded me of my best friend, Connie. She’s two years older than me, but by Grade 4, she had failed twice and was placed in my class. I remember the running battle between her and our teacher, as the teacher insisted that Connie read out loud with the rest of the class. Connie couldn’t — so she refused, over and over, and the teacher was furious with her.
“I’ve kept in contact with Connie, and 40 years later, she phoned me to tell me proudly that she’d read her first book. She had severe dyslexia. In those days, no one even thought about diagnosing learning disabilities. You either could, or like Connie, you couldn’t. How sad, both for ‘the system’ — and for Connie,” says Handel.
“We’ve come a long way since then, but our education system is under siege. Children can wait for months, if not years, before they’re diagnosed with a learning disability. In the meantime, children are grouped together and one teacher is responsible for an entire class with divergent needs.
“I raised my children in Langley Township, while I commuted back and forth to Burnaby. When we moved to Langley it was countryside, with a smattering of urban growth. I’ve watched with trepidation as the north slopes of Langley Township have been developed — the endless townhouses and condos, all meant to encourage young families to move in.
“But where is the infrastructure? Where are the schools? Who’s going to pay the price at the end of the day?”
Handel has had a long career in adult education, having worked for over 30 years teaching television production in the Broadcast Communications Department at the B.C. Institute of Technology in Burnaby. She has a diploma in Television Production from BCIT and a post-graduate diploma in adult education from the University of B.C.
She is President of the Canadian Federation of University Women, Surrey/White Rock Club. She’s a past member and chair of the B.C. Motion Picture Association, and helped develop the local film and TV “Leo Awards.” She was a member and chair of the Langley Township Agricultural Advisory Committee, and was instrumental in developing the Langley Farm Tour.
“I believe that I can help with the current conundrum in the Langley School District — reduced funding, a lack of new infrastructure, curriculum changes.
“All these things are going to make education more challenging in the future. I have the ability to get things done, and I’d like to help. I don’t want any more children to struggle through school like my friend Connie.”
Handel and her husband Brant run a mixed berry farm on 0 Avenue, where they produce artisan jams.
Her Facebook page is Trudy Handel for Langley School Board and her website is http://www.trudyhandelforlangleyschoolboard.com.