Endorsements

Matt and I approached union work in Surrey at about the same time (although I was first😉). He had spent years being a lawyer, me, a mom, yet somehow, we became friends and shared a passion for this work even though we did not always agree. At Matt’s first AGM, I was there to speak in opposition to a resolution he moved. At future Surrey Executive Committee meetings, he was always there to keep my feet grounded as I pushed for bold climate action on behalf of the local and Federation. In the last six years of doing this work together, I have come to greatly admire his analysis of the elements of a problem, and his calm and deliberate approach to challenges that have faced the province’s largest local. He has been a forward-thinking President in our local, a diplomatic negotiator, and a collaborative and humble team-player. He has earned the trust of the district and this is reflected in the careful approach taken by our superintendent during this time, as well as the trust of our members as nearly 6,000 turn to him (and the Surrey EC) when they waver. There are many times we do not agree, but Matt is always willing to listen, to receive feedback, and to work with others to ensure we are clear in our decision-making and purposeful in our actions. Thanks for considering this endorsement in your vote for candidates to the BCTF Executive Committee and for engaging in the process of electing your leadership, we are better for your participation.

Violette Baillargeon

Member-at-Large, Surrey Teachers' Association Executive Committee; Chair, STA Environmental Justice Committee

I have worked closely with Matt Westphal over the past 6 years, first when he became an LR on our Surrey Teachers’ Executive Committee, and then side by side as a released table officer while I was First Vice President of the STA. I have always valued Matt’s ability to take in complex information and bring thoughtful clarity and insight to challenging circumstances. This is one of several key reasons I am pleased that Matt is running for BCTF Member at Large.

Matt is a tireless advocate for teachers and public education. He has served on numerous important committees, both local and provincial, giving him perspective and a wide range of experience— from Finance and Income Security to supporting members through our local mediation service, as well as serving as past Director of the BCTF Assistance Society. These examples reflect the excellent balance of keen intelligence and warm compassion that Matt brings to colleagues, members, and our union.

As local president, Matt has helped shape and direct key changes needed in our local office, both with staffing and our executive committee in order to better support members as we continue to grow. He builds important consultation processes with insight and effectiveness to bring about the best version of policies and proposals possible.

Matt is a thoughtful leader who listens carefully to what members are saying and experiencing in schools, and he also sees the larger picture unfolding provincially and politically. He seeks to learn from diverse voices and also does not shy away from participating in difficult decisions that need to be made. I have always appreciated his calm presence and insight both when working with individual members experiencing struggles or hardship, and when helping to find a way forward at provincial meetings.

Matt is articulate, clearheaded and insightful, and these strengths are balanced with emotional intelligence and a keen humour—all of which are much needed in the tough conditions in which we find ourselves. Matt will be an excellent addition to the provincial executive table and I fully support his candidacy.
Laura Barker

Former 1st Vice-President , Surrey Teachers' Association

The first time I saw Matt was when he was on television with BCTF President Jim Iker during our strike in 2014. He was given the opportunity to address the public and did so with both tact and class – I believe he captured the sentiment of classroom teachers across the province during that difficult time perfectly. 

My first impression could not have been more accurate. Since that time I was fortunate to have had many opportunities to problem solve with Matt in my capacity as a Local Table Officer. These interactions showed me he is one of the most intelligent, humble, and ethical people I had the opportunity to work with in my dealings at the Federation. He has been representing the Surrey Local with integrity for several years and will undoubtedly do the same on the BCTF Executive if given the opportunity. It is without hesitation that I endorse Matt Westphal for a Member-at-Large position on the BCTF Executive.

Frank Bonvino

Past President, Burnaby Teachers' Association

I had the pleasure of working with Matt during my two years as President of the Surrey Teachers’ Association. When Matt came into our office, he hit the ground running. Having previous experience as a labor lawyer, he was a quick and strategic thinker, and an asset when negotiating agreements.  

Matt is a member-centered leader. Local officers support members through some of their most challenging times. Matt is an advocate through and through. I have watched Matt go above and beyond supporting members through difficult situations with respect and compassion. Matt really believes in the importance of hearing from and listening to all voices, particularly to those who are feeling disenfranchised or marginalized. During this time of contract uncertainty, Matt’s commitment to member outreach is an asset to our Federation.  

 

Matt brings so much to a decision-making body. In moments where Matt and I have not come at an issue from the same angle, I always trusted I would hear from him. His take was valued and presented perspectives that needed to be considered. Working and collaborating with Matt was an opportunity; it made me a better leader. 

I’m not at the BCTF AGM this year, but I certainly hope that when the results are in that Matt’ will be sitting around next year’s EC table. Our collective voice will be stronger for it.

Gioia Breda

Former President , Surrey Teachers' Association

Matt would be an excellent addition as Member at Large to the BCTF Executive Committee. Over the last several years I have listened to Matt at the mic at many Rep Assemblies and AGMs. I have always found that his calm and insightful approach to any issue has helped me consider my own position on the issue. I have also found that Matt is a good listener and always willing to hear all sides of an argument before weighing in. I believe Matt will serve the members of the BCTF well as a member of the Executive Committee. I fully support his candidacy for the position of Member at Large.

Robin Deleurme

President , North Vancouver Teachers' Association

I’ve had the good fortune to know Matt for a number of years. Both as a fellow Local President and through attendance at numerous BCTF events and meetings I have listened to Matt in conversation and debate. A consistent theme in Matt’s comments is his focus on individual members. When he speaks, you see the teacher he is concerned about.

Matt also possesses the ability to dissect complex issues into their parts and examine how the approach we take will affect or influence the result.

His calm, reasoned, and balanced approach to difficult decisions will be an invaluable asset to our BCTF executive team.

Kevin Epp

President , Okanagan-Skaha Teachers' Union

Matt is reasoned, calm, articulate and insightful. I appreciate his leadership as President of the largest local in the province and I remain impressed by his ability to accurately  share the many perspectives and concerns of his membership. Matt is an excellent candidate and the BCTF would be well-served with him as a Member-at-Large.

Treena Goolieff

First Vice-President, Vancouver Secondary Teachers' Association

After 2 1/2 years working together in the Surrey Teachers’ Association office, I can tell you Matt is committed and hard-working. Our large local’s internal work is a huge project by itself, and I feel we are working shoulder to shoulder very effectively to improve the STA, and by so doing, influencing some things in the BCTF. These improvements are in areas such as consistent attention to the needs of individual members, openness to change that is being demanded and requested by groups of members, improved communication strategies, office and staff changes, and in general levelling-up our member service. In dealing with gritty details and in contemplating grand visions, Matt is good to work with, and he is a droll and clever comrade. He has my support!

Julia MacRae

First Vice-President, Surrey Teachers' Association

I am writing in support of Matt Westphal’s candidacy for Member-at-Large. Matt is a strong advocate for teachers and public education. He is a thoughtful and well-spoken person who has been the president of our largest local for the past two years. In that time, I have had the privilege of interacting with Matt at many zone meetings, and Rep Assemblies. Matt’s dedication to our profession and his calm, thoughtful manner when speaking on issues in education, make him a strong candidate for our BCTF Executive. I am pleased to support Matt in his campaign for Member at Large at our 2020 BCTF AGM.

Tammy McKinley

LR, Chilliwack

Both Matt and I started engaging in union activism around the same time. From the picket line to the AGM, LR-ship to his Presidency, I have been witness to some hallmarks of leadership which I think would make him a strong EC member. As our union strives to be more representative and inclusive, I have seen Matt reach out, reflect, and grow in his understanding of equity and his role as a white male working in allyship. As the president of our STA, I have seen him take the steps to build capacity at the local level for BIPOC members and know he will continue that work provincially. He has also proven himself to be someone who listens. As we continue what has become an arduous task of collective bargaining with the current government, his leadership is one based on listening to members’ needs and concerns, rather than singular-minded decision making. We are a union over 46,000 strong. I know Matt will listen to those voices and always have avenues of dialogue open. Last but certainly not least, Matt is steadfast and calm no matter the situation. From dealing with a district that refuses to budge on some issues, helping members through tough times, and applying historical and legal lenses that add nuance to complicated matters, Matt has the skills and demeanour to take on the tough EC role. From the smallest local to the largest one, Matt will be an effective, strong, and empathetic EC member for all.

Annie Ohana

Surrey Teacher and former Local Representative to the BCTF and member of the Committee for Action on Social Justice

Both Matt and I started engaging in union activism around the same time. From the picket line to the AGM, LR-ship to his Presidency, I have been witness to some hallmarks of leadership which I think would make him a strong EC member. As our union strives to be more representative and inclusive, I have seen Matt reach out, reflect, and grow in his understanding of equity and his role as a white male working in allyship. As the president of our STA, I have seen him take the steps to build capacity at the local level for BIPOC members and know he will continue that work provincially. He has also proven himself to be someone who listens. As we continue what has become an arduous task of collective bargaining with the current government, his leadership is one based on listening to members’ needs and concerns, rather than singular-minded decision making. We are a union over 46,000 strong. I know Matt will listen to those voices and always have avenues of dialogue open. Last but certainly not least, Matt is steadfast and calm no matter the situation. From dealing with a district that refuses to budge on some issues, helping members through tough times, and applying historical and legal lenses that add nuance to complicated matters, Matt has the skills and demeanour to take on the tough EC role. From the smallest local to the largest one, Matt will be an effective, strong, and empathetic EC member for all.

Annie Ohana

Surrey Teacher and former Local Representative to the BCTF and member of the Committee for Action on Social Justice

Both Matt and I started engaging in union activism around the same time. From the picket line to the AGM, LR-ship to his Presidency, I have been witness to some hallmarks of leadership which I think would make him a strong EC member. As our union strives to be more representative and inclusive, I have seen Matt reach out, reflect, and grow in his understanding of equity and his role as a white male working in allyship. As the president of our STA, I have seen him take the steps to build capacity at the local level for BIPOC members and know he will continue that work provincially. He has also proven himself to be someone who listens. As we continue what has become an arduous task of collective bargaining with the current government, his leadership is one based on listening to members’ needs and concerns, rather than singular-minded decision making. We are a union over 46,000 strong. I know Matt will listen to those voices and always have avenues of dialogue open. Last but certainly not least, Matt is steadfast and calm no matter the situation. From dealing with a district that refuses to budge on some issues, helping members through tough times, and applying historical and legal lenses that add nuance to complicated matters, Matt has the skills and demeanour to take on the tough EC role. From the smallest local to the largest one, Matt will be an effective, strong, and empathetic EC member for all.

Annie Ohana

Surrey Teacher and former Local Representative to the BCTF and member of the Committee for Action on Social Justice

Matt would be an excellent addition to the BCTF Executive table. As President of Surrey, he is aware of all of the issues facing our members. Furthermore, he will have a keen sense of what is reasonable to ask of Locals from the Provincial table. My experience with Matt is that he is a considered speaker, that he listens well and that he does his best to represent his members regardless of his own personal opinion.

Katharine Shipley

President, Vancouver Secondary Teachers' Association

I got to know Matt initially through RAs and AGMs. I was immediately impressed with what he brought to the discussion. Over the years I have seen Matt passionately fight for and represent his members. He will voice his views thoughtfully and welcomes constructive debate. Once the collective decision is made, Matt will not only go with it but embrace it. As a released table officer, I have been lucky to have Matt as someone I can call for advice. He listens and always brings a balanced view. Matt would be a wonderful fit on our BCTF EC and I’m excited that he is putting his name forward.

Daniel Tétrault

First Vice President, Burnaby Teachers' Association

Matt and I became local president at the same time, and I found myself looking to Matt for inspiration as I communicated with my membership during challenging times. Matt speaks intelligently and compellingly on behalf of teachers, and he listens as well as he speaks. His background as a lawyer allows him to find the most salient issues and speak to them in concrete, specific ways. He sees the big picture and is realistic, practical, and optimistic about creating positive changes for teachers and students in BC. As the president of the largest local in the province, Matt understands the wide variety of complex issues locals deal with each day. I wholeheartedly support his candidacy for Member-at-Large on the BCTF Executive Committee.

Renée Willock

President , West Vancouver Teachers' Association