Born and raised in Alberta, I now reside in southeast Calgary, in the Mahogany community, with my spouse Mary, in close proximity to our daughter and her family. I am a retired educator, having been a classroom teacher, an education/career counsellor and a school administrator. I have also served the public as a municipal councillor and as a school trustee. I believe that the knowledge I have gained, my skills and abilities, and my experience position me well to help provide the leadership and guidance needed by the Calgary Board of Education as it faces the many challenges that lie ahead: challenges shorter-term in nature such as those caused by the COVID pandemic, and other more enduring challenges such as education funding, learning conditions in schools, curriculum and assessment, student and staff safety in our schools, and encouraging, welcoming and embracing a culture of diversity within our schools.
Statement of beliefs
Education is the key to the future. The world around us is changing at an astounding rate, in large part driven by technology. Correspondingly, our needs are also changing and evolving. We must ensure that our education system is prepared to meet the challenge of this ongoing change; we must ensure that our children have access to an education that enables them to succeed in meeting the challenges they will face as our world continues to evolve and grow. We must encourage our children to dream, and then we must provide the supports necessary for them to achieve their dreams.
Students back in the classroom with appropriate measures in place to keep them safe.
Supports to help students feel comfortable returning to the classroom so they can focus on learning.
Implement a program to address the learning deficit students have experienced due to the pandemic.
Views on funding
The primary and major source of education funding is the Provincial Government. It is the role of Boards to decide how to best use those resources to optimize the educational opportunities and experiences of the students. The demands on the education system have changed significantly to where now, in addition to educating students, the system is also being challenged to address a myriad of social and para-medical issues (such as mental health). Addressing these issues requires significant resources and places a greater strain on the (inadequate) funding available. We must continue to advocate for an appropriate level of funding to enable the system to meet the needs of our students.
How learning conditions can be improved
We can best improve learning conditions in schools by clearly identifying the needs of our students (learning and others such as social and mental health) and ensuring that the resources and supports needed to address those needs are available and in place to enable teachers, and all staff directly or indirectly involved in the education of our students, to do their jobs effectively.
How trustees and school boards can best support teachers
Trustees and teachers are part of a team that includes, in addition to trustees and teachers, students, parents, Alberta Education, and the community, all of whom have the same goal – to provide the best possible education opportunities/experiences for our students. As members of the team, as partners in education, trustees and teachers need to work collaboratively and cooperatively to ensure we can meet our common goal. More specifically, it is incumbent on the Board to ensure that the resources and supports teachers need to fulfill their responsibilities are available and in place.
Views on recently released draft curriculum
It is the mandate of Alberta Education to develop curriculum. It is the mandate of local school authorities to implement the mandated curriculum. That being said, I am aware that there are some issues in the public domain with some of the changes that appear in recently revised curricula. If elected, as a trustee I would familiarize myself with those public concerns and work through the Board to engage Alberta Education in discussion around those issues and work in a collaborative and cooperative manner to try to address/resolve the public’s concerns.