Raising the status of our profession by building strength through unity and equity

Hi! I’m Steve Querengesser and I’m a proud member of the BCTF. That’s my son Miro (in the photo above) and we’re rowing by our house in Queen Charlotte, Haida Gwaii. That’s where I am a teacher and past president of the Haida Gwaii Teachers’ Association.

I’m currently on partial parental leave as my partner Tricia and I job-share in her primary classroom in Ska’adgaa Naay Elementary. I’ve also taught high school math and science at GidGalang Kuuyas Naay Secondary, also on Haida Gwaii.

Why I am running for 2nd Vice President:

I’m running for 2nd Vice President of the BCTF because I’d like to offer members a choice for a change in direction for our union. Elections are vital to member engagement and provide opportunities to choose the course.

During COVID-19 it’s especially important that the BCTF prioritize member engagement, democratic structures and processes, and open lines of communication.

Member engagement, open communication, and principled responses to the challenges we face.

With so much going on in our profession right now, I’d like to be a voice for member engagement, open communication, and principled responses to the challenges that COVID-19 is presenting to public education across British Columbia.

Our Executive is a strong group of passionate teachers with diverse perspectives and experience from around the province. If you elect me, I will focus on building bridges through common ground priorities, strengthening our union by helping advance equity, and helping us achieve and secure professional wages, professional workloads, and professional autonomy for all members.

Raise the status of the profession.

I’d like to help us focus on achieving the common ground goal of raising the status of the profession. This will require adding to our strength as a union, which we can achieve by building equity into all aspects of our union.

When our union reflects and represents the realities of the communities we serve we can better understand the needs of those communities and are more effective in reaching out and building support for public education.

Professional pay, professional workload, and professional autonomy for teachers.

Raising teachers’ professional status means prioritizing professional pay, professional workload, and professional autonomy in all our appeals to the public.

We can do this by simplifying our internal and external calls to action through strategic efforts at raising support for the teaching profession.

Fair, equitable, and safe responses to COVID-19.

We must also work together to ensure a fair, equitable, and safe response to COVID-19.

I will work hard to ensure that members are fully engaged in how the BCTF responds to the many challenges presented by COVID-19. Issues of occupational health and safety and teachers’ workloads will be top of mind for me.

By supporting Joint Occupational Health and Safety Committees at all local worksites and by keeping communication channels open at all levels of the BCTF, we can help each other get through this together.

Build strength and unity for our union.

I am running for this office to help us build the strength and unity that’s required to achieve and secure professional pay, professional workload, and professional autonomy.

I would like to offer members to change the direction of the union, with greater focus on engagement, unity and strength. I’d also like to help build common ground and achieve equity in all aspects of our union.