About Our Board

The Board of Education, in accordance with the School Act, is a policy-making body whose primary function is to establish procedures and guidelines for the operation of public schools. Local boards of education are responsible for producing a budget, administering expenditures, and liaising with individual schools through the School Trustee Liaison Program, as well as for several basic functions including:

  • Policy, Planning and Evaluation
  • Action on Legal Requirements
  • Selection of Senior Personnel
  • Public Relations

Members of the Board of Education for New Westminster Schools were elected in November 2018 for a 4-year term. They are Anita Ansari, Dee Beattie, Danielle Connelly, Gurveen Dhaliwal, Mark Gifford, Mary Lalji and Maya Russell. At the November 23, 2021 Regular Open Board meeting, the Board of Education re-elected Gurveen Dhaliwal Chair and Dee Beattie Vice-Chair of the Board.

Contact us

The board welcomes communications, comments and questions from the public. Please email us at boardofeducation@sd40.bc.ca … emails received to this address are also documented for review, as part of the larger working process of the Board of Education.

The Executive Assistant supporting the Board of Education is Laura Goodman (lgoodman@sd40.bc.ca). For questions on process, file access or other such inquiries, please reach out to her.

If you are from a media outlet that is seeking comment from a member of the Board, please contact the District’s Communications Manager, Kristen Keighley-Wight ( kkeighleywight@sd40.bc.ca ) as she can help coordinate time with or get you comment from the appropriate Trustee.


Gurveen Dhaliwal, Board Chair

Trustee Gurveen Dhaliwal is serving her fourth year as School Trustee and was re-elected as Chair of the Board of Education for a second year in November of 2021. She is school trustee liaison to Fraser River Middle School and Queen Elizabeth Elementary School. She also serves on the school district’s SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity), the Anti-Racism, and NWSS Neighbourhood Learning Centre-Wellness Centre Committees.

Email: gdhaliwal@sd40.bc.ca

Dee Beattie, Board Vice-Chair

Trustee Dee Beattie is serving her fourth year as School Trustee and was re-elected as Vice-Chair of the Board of Education for a second year in November of 2021. Trustee Beattie is the Chair of the Education Policy and Planning Committee and school trustee liaison to École Lord Tweedsmuir Elementary School, Lord Kelvin Elementary School and Connaught Heights Elementary School. She also serves on the CUPE Labour/Management and Grievance Management-Step 3 Committees. Trustee Beattie is the Board Representative to the BC School Trustees’ Association (BCSTA) Provincial Council.

Email: dbeattie@sd40.bc.ca

Anita Ansari

Trustee Anita Ansari is serving her fourth year as School Trustee. She is school trustee liaison to FW Howay Elementary School,  Power Alternate Secondary School and Royal City Alternate Secondary School (RCAP) and serves on the SOGI (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity), and Anti-Racism Committees. She is also the Alternate Representative to the BC School Trustees’ Association.

Email: aansari@sd40.bc.ca

Danielle Connelly

Trustee Danielle Connelly is currently serving her fourth year as School Trustee and is the Chair of the Board of Education Operations Policy and Planning Committee. She is trustee liaison for Canadian Parents for French,  École Qayqayt Elementary School, École Glenbrook Middle School and Queensborough Middle School. Trustee Connelly is a member of the Sanctuary Schools Committee. 

Email: dconnelly@sd40.bc.ca

Mark Gifford

Mark Gifford is serving his eighth year as School Trustee for New Westminster Schools. He represents New Westminster Schools on the Memorialization Advisory Committee as well, he serves on the NWSS-Neighbourhood Learning Centre (NLC) Welcome Space, and Skwo:wech Elementary NLC committees. Trustee Gifford is the trustee liaison for New Westminster Secondary School (NWSS), SIGMA Alternate Program and Skwo:wech Elementary School.

Email: mgifford@sd40.bc.ca

Mary Lalji

Trustee Mary Lalji is serving her sixth year as School Trustee after being elected to the New Westminster Schools Board of Education in 2016. She is the Board’s Alternate Representative to the BC Public School Employers’ Association.

Email: mlalji@sd40.bc.ca

Maya Russell

Trustee Maya Russell is serving her fourth year as School Trustee. She is the school liaison to École Herbert Spencer Elementary School, Home Learners Program at Hume Park and New Westminster Adult and Online Learning. She sits on the school district’s Aboriginal Education Advisory CommitteeMemorialization Advisory, and Sanctuary Schools’ Committees. Trustee Russell is the Board Representative to the BC Public School Employers’ Association

Email: mrussell@sd40.bc.ca