Burnaby candidates for SCHOOL TRUSTEE

Following is information about the candidates running for Burnaby School Trustee on November 19. Candidates: To submit mug shots and bios/corrections, email editor@burnabynewsleader.com.

Note: All profile information here is supplied by the candidates or their respective slates, and/or taken from their websites.


Ron Burton

Slate: Burnaby Citizens Association

Bio: Ron BURTON was re-elected as a Burnaby School Trustee in November, 2008 for the 8th time. Ron believes in public education and in working with the community to build a stronger and more effective public education system that is diverse enough to meet the future needs and expectations of all students. His ability to work well with all the employee groups has highlighted his experience as a School Trustee.

Born and raised in Burnaby, Ron enjoys the city's social inclusiveness and variety of experiences - from sports to dining out. Burnaby Mountain is one of his favourite places to take visitors to enjoy the hiking and bike trails while enjoying an outdoor experience in the heart of the city.

Ron is a mountain biking enthusiast and also enjoys tennis, skiing and kite boarding as well as spending time with his pet dog, Everest.

Ron was instrumental in the formation of the Burnaby Mountain Biking Association (BMBA) and is proud of the agreement negotiated between the Parks Board and the union that ensures professional trail maintenance on Burnaby Mountain. Trails are being developed that are sensitive to the environment while at the same time will be sustainable for hikers and bikers to enjoy for years to come.

The BMBA initiated a free safety and skills camp for kids - the 1st Annual Kids Bike Camp - that featured certified coaches and a free lunch provided by the Burnaby Optimists and was a resounding success.


• Elected 8 times as a Board of Education Trustee; has served on every board committee

• Founding member British Columbia Public Sector Employers Association and served on the board for three terms

• President, Burnaby Mountain Biking Association

• Vice President, Burnaby Optimists

• Board member, Michael J Fox Theatre

Bonda Bitzer

Profession: former Burnaby school district administrator

Slate: Team Burnaby

Bio: Bonda is a life-long resident of Burnaby with a son at Moscrop School. Over twenty years, Bonda worked as a personnel manager in the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows School District, managing consultant with the B.C. Public School Employers’ Association and finally as the director of human resources with the Burnaby School District, retiring in 2010. Bonda is active in Burnaby lacrosse, managing a multitude of box and field teams. She served as field lacrosse registrar for a number of years. Bonda says: “there are many talented, wonderful people working in Burnaby schools. However, I believe that they, students, parents, taxpayers and the community would benefit by open and transparent decision-making by a board of school trustees that is not indebted to a single interest group.”

Meiling Chia

Slate: Burnaby Citizens Association

Bio: Meiling Chia is originally from Taiwan and works at Surrey’s Taxation Centre. She has been active with many PAC events at her daughter’s school, is married and lives with her family in Burnaby.

Larry Hayes

Slate: Burnaby Citizens Association

Bio: Larry is serving his third term as a Burnaby School Trustee and was elected Chair in 2010.

A life long resident of Burnaby, he attended elementary, secondary and post-secondary schools in the community. Prior to his election to School Board, Larry served on the Burnaby Parks, Recreation and Culture Commission.

Larry is an Honourary Life Member of the Burnaby Minor Hockey Association and was inducted into the Burnaby Sports Hall of Fame in the Builder Category in 2006.


• Honoured Member, Burnaby Sports Hall of Fame

• Honourary Life Member, Burnaby Minor Hockey Association

• Served as a Commissioner, Burnaby Parks, Recreation & Culture for three years

Alex Hui

Profession: retired locomotive engineer and volunteer soccer coach

Slate: Team Burnaby

Bio: Alex immigrated from Hong Kong as a teenager and studied at the University of Alberta. While spending a life-long career as a CN rail engineer, alex has always been active as a volunteer. He worked as a translator for numerous non-profit societies, and on the executive team of several clubs. Currently, he is serving as vice-president of the CN pensioners association, volunteer soccer coach on his six-year-old son’s team, and as awana leader in the ministry of children and family development. Actively involved in his son’s many academic, artistic and sporting activities, alex is constantly engaged in conversation with parents of school-aged children. Alex shares in these parents’ joy and aspirations for their children, as well as concerns and issues of their education. As a Burnaby school trustee, Alex’s passion would be to bring a parent’s heart that puts the interest of students first. His vision is to work with parents to ensure a productive input in the allocation of educational resources in our schools and providing the best opportunity for all students.

Jeff Kuah

Profession: businessman and educator

Slate: Team Burnaby

Bio: Jeff Kuah lives in Burnaby where his children are enrolled in the Burnaby school system. He is active in promoting safety and is a recognized role model in the community. He has a distinguished career in high school counselling and as an advisor to university students. He obtained his bachelor degrees in business management and political science from University of Lethbridge. A native of Malaysia, Jeff speaks English, Malay, Mandarin, Cantonese, Fujian and Tiew Chiew. Jeff is an advocate for the victims of crime, students’ rights and human rights. He has worked on behalf of students, immigrants and seniors in Burnaby.

Rennie Maierle

Profession: retired Burnaby high school principal

Slate: Team Burnaby

Bio: Rennie has been a resident of Burnaby since 1987. He worked in Burnaby as a teacher and administrator from 1976 to 2009. Rennie believes that “in an inclusive, genuine and transparent manner, we need to find savings by streamlining administrative and business practices to better serve Burnaby students, teachers and support staff. The current ‘single slate’ board of trustees provides a narrow, unconstested point of view and appears satisfied with maintaining the status quo.”

Baljinder Narang

Slate: Burnaby Citizens Association

Bio: Baljinder Narang's commitment to Burnaby is reflected in her long standing involvement in the community. She sat Chair of the Burnaby South Parent Advisory Council and has also been a member of the Burnaby Community Policing Committee, Royal Oak Advisory Committee and Learning Support Services Advisory Committee. She currently sits as a Trustee with the New Vista Society.

With a Masters Degree in Health Education from Dalhousie University, Baljinder has worked her professional career as an Occupational Therapist specializing in Community Rehabilitation and Drug & Alcohol Counselling. Born in Uganda and having lived in India, England and Zambia, she has called Burnaby home since 1994. Her three children have all been educated in the public school system and graduated from Burnaby South. Baljinder was elected as a Burnaby School Trustee in 2008.


• Deputy Chair, Burnaby Parks, Recreation & Cultural Commission

• Spokesperson – ‘We Can’ end all violence against women – BC Campaign

• Representative, BC Lower Mainland Council, Canadian Red Cross

• Member – Board of Advisors, Sikh Research Institute

• 12 years experience serving on PACs and DPAC in the Burnaby school system

Harman Pandher

Slate: Burnaby Citizens Association

Bio: Harman Pandher was born in Vancouver, raised in Burnaby and is a graduate of Cariboo Hill Secondary. He obtained his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education degrees at UBC. He currently works as an elementary school teacher in the public school system in Surrey and has an active history of community involvement in Burnaby with the South Burnaby Neighbourhood House and Burnaby Multicultural Society. He lives in Burnaby with his wife and son.

Glen Power

Profession: customer service coordinator

Slate: Team Burnaby

Bio: Glen is employed as a customer service co-ordinator in the self storage industry. He has served in similar capacities in the video and food services industry. Glen studied business administration at langara college. Glen, his wife and his son live in the Capitol Hill neighbourhood. Glen played high school football and understands the importance of sports, fitness and extracurricular activities in school programs.

Pablo Su

Profession: photographer and community volunteer

Slate: Team Burnaby

Bio: Pablo is a professional photographer and a forty-year resident of Burnaby. He has two children in Burnaby schools and was highly involved in the parent advisory committees at his children’s school, serving on various committees including the Burnaby district technology committee. Pablo volunteers at the Confederation Park Seniors Centre by teaching seniors how to use their cameras and improve their photographic skills. Pablo says “I strongly believe that we are not doing enough to maximize each child’s potential in our current system. We are not challenging the minds of gifted students and are falling short in meeting the requirements of special needs students.”

Anne Sharleen Sylva

Profession: legal assistant

Slate: Team Burnaby

Bio: Anne is a fomer Douglas Road and Burnaby Central student with 10 years of volunteering with elementary and secondary students in Burnaby. She holds a bachelors in political science and works as a legal assistant in Vancouver. Anne believes “each child is an individual and focussing on their individuality is how we bring out the best in them.”

James Wang

Slate: Burnaby Citizens Association

Bio: James Wang came to Canada from China in 1996. Born in the beautiful southern city of Suzhou, he was raised in Xi’an, a northwest China city well-known for its rich history and the world renowned 2,000 year-old Terra Cotta Warriors. His successful business career in Canada includes a leadership role as Vice President of Canadian Overseas Holdings, a BC-based company that oversees various business interests. He has also been involved in a number of cultural and business associations, including the Northwest Benevolent Association of Canada (President) and the Canada China Professional Association (Vice President). In 2006, he was recognized by the Vancouver Sun as one of the Top 100 Most Influential Chinese-Canadians in BC, along with his brother, for his outstanding service and contribution to the community. James earned his Masters in Business Administration (MBA) in Canada and has tremendous interest in the Canadian education system. James and his wife are proud parents of two teenage sons and have lived in Burnaby for more than 10 years. He enjoys global travel, reading, writing poems and also an avid and talented golfer. He was elected as a Board of Education Trustee in Burnaby in 2008.

Gary Wong

Slate: Burnaby Citizens Association

Bio: Gary Wong was first elected as a Board of Education Trustee November, 2008. He is well known for his leadership as an activist and his participation with a number of community organizations. Currently working as a Business Agent with United Steelworkers Local 1-1937 in Burnaby, Gary has a long history of union activism and has stepped forward to assume a number of leadership roles within the union. This experience has translated to an ongoing commitment to his community through his volunteer activities with groups such as the Burnaby Public Library, Burnaby Family Life Institute and Vancouver Community Legal Assistance Society. Married with two children, Gary has been a resident of Burnaby for over 25 years.


• 1st Vice President, United Steelworkers, Local 1-2171

• Vice Chair, Burnaby Public Library, Chair-Finance Committee

• Trustee, Pacific Blue Cross, Health and Welfare Plan No. 1

• Director, Burnaby Family Life Institute, Chair-Personnel Committee

• Program Manager, Forest Renewal BC, Vancouver Transition Centre

• Governor, Langara College, Chair Personnel Committee

• Director, West Coast Plywood Co. Ltd., an employee owned venture

• Director, Vancouver Community Legal Assistance Society

• Task Force Co-coordinator, Canada Employment and Immigration Commission

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