I need to start by letting you know that I am a “teacher brat”. Similar to “army brats” who grew up with the army but may never have served themselves, I was raised by a close-knit community of teachers. I feel a strong emotional pull to this profession and to the ATA. My mom was my Grade 2 teacher. As a child, I sometimes went with my mom, a single parent, to ATA meetings in Edm, when she couldn’t find childcare.
I have a B.A. in Political Science (I graduated at the top of my class) and an MBA, both from the U of A. I have worked as an analyst and project consultant in the private, not-for-profit, and public sectors. Career highlights include a stint as a Policy Manager in the Premier’s Office (circa the Premier Klein era) up in Edmonton and as a Strategist in the City Manager’s Office here in Calgary. Over the past 10 years, I’ve volunteered extensively at schools (chair of school council, chair of playground committee, etc.). My kids attend William Reid School and Elboya School.
Statement of beliefs
#1: I believe in public schools, as defined here: https://public-schools.ab.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/A-Review-of-K-12-Education-Funding-in-Alberta.pdf. I send my kids to CBE schools because the CBE provides a world-class education.
#2: I believe in continuous improvement. I want to build up the CBE and make it better, not break it.
#3: I believe in being careful with money.
You should see how good I am with stretching a dollar. Whether it's balancing the budget of my own household (I drive a 14-year-old car) or keeping my work and volunteer projects in the black, I am vigilant about the bottom line. I'm a parent, but I'm a taxpayer, too. Being a strong advocate for kids and being a strong advocate for fiscal responsibility are not mutually exclusive. The key is to continually re-evaluate whether we're spending money on the right things.
#4: I believe in our kids.
I am floored by the depth and breadth of the CBE's offerings. From programs geared towards academic excellence to programs tailored to students with complex needs, there's a program or two or three to suit almost every learner.
I will work hard for Calgary’s kids and keep public education high on the list of Alberta's priorities.
Do a better job of communicating the business case to the UCP for investing in public education.
Strengthen the partnership with AHS to improve access to mental health supports through schools.
Fight to shelve the draft (Mar '21) K-6 curriculum and demand an independent, full & open re-write.
Views on funding
My views are closely aligned with those provided in "A Review of K-12 Education Funding in Alberta", written by Dr. Curtis Riep (Public School Boards' Association of Alberta, May 2021), available here: https://public-schools.ab.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/A-Review-of-K-12-Education-Funding-in-Alberta.pdf.
If I am elected, I will demand honesty from the people we elect to represent Albertans in the provincial legislature. The provincial government has cut per-student funding, but MLAs are trying to claim that this budget cut was actually a budget increase by cherry-picking individual budget lines. That’s not honest. I like honest.
Cutting funds to public education while announcing funds for other initiatives is a choice. The amount of money the UCP has cut from public education is a drop in the bucket compared to other expenditures announced since 2019. Increasing class sizes is particularly shortsighted in the throes of a pandemic that has disrupted learning and routines.
How learning conditions can be improved
1) Listen to teachers, the real experts, about how learning conditions can be improved. 2) Potentially add a dedicated literacy specialist(s) to serve the Bridges programs. 3) Reduce class sizes to bring them in line with the recommendations in the 2003 report from Alberta’s Commission on Learning: 17 students per class from Kindergarten to Grade 3, when kids are learning to read; 23 kids per class in Grades 4 to 6, when kids are mastering the art of reading to learn; 25 kids per class in Grades 7 to 9, when academic expectations begin to take off; 27 kids per class in the crucial high-school years. 4) Champion the CBE's participation in Calgary's new 2021-2023 mental health action plan, and make sure the words on paper translate into boots on the ground, so that teachers can focus on the work of teaching, which they're trained for, and not on trying to provide mental health support. 5) Convince GoA to reverse cut to PUF. 6) Equity & inclusion. 7) Windows that open...and much More!
How trustees and school boards can best support teachers
One thing trustees and school boards can do better is to do a better job of is marketing our excellent teachers in Alberta. There is a culture of fear at the CBE. Bashing the public-school system has become commonplace. If I am elected, I will regularly, publicly express gratitude for the kind souls who are attracted to the teaching profession. I will do a better job of sharing with Albertans the true and inspiring story of our efficient, effective, world-class public-education system, and the talented people who are dedicated to our children. Teaching children is physically demanding and mentally punishing work that keeps teachers on their feet for most of the day. It’s a hands-on profession, not one for paper pushers. Teachers are the backbone of schools; we can’t afford to keep breaking their backs. I will work hard to change public perceptions.
Secondly, we can allocate resources so we have normal class sizes and adequate supports for students with complex needs.
Views on recently released draft curriculum
Experts have identified a number of critical flaws, and 59 of 61 school boards across the province have rejected participating in the pilot program for 2021-22. Parents are concerned that the flawed curriculum will nevertheless be forced upon our kids in 2022-23. Right now -- after two school years interrupted by pandemic lockdowns -- it is too risky to subject Alberta’s children to a flawed, unsound, sub-par curriculum. It is not a risk I am willing to take.
If I am elected, I will hammer home to MLAs that they need to start seeing parents as partners in education. Parents want their elected representatives to listen, to respond, and to be accountable. We all want the new curriculum to be successful, and in order to be successful, it must enjoy the broad support of Albertans, and the current one unequivocally does not.
I will also hammer home to MLAs that this is controversy is unnecessary. They've created this firestorm and they can stop it, by shelving the flawed curriculum.
How to encourage and facilitate the calls to action as outlined by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
I am firmly committed to meeting the 94 Calls to Action made by the Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Canada. For example, in keeping with Call to Action #62, I have been vocal in advocating the shelving of the UCP's draft K-6 curriculum, because it fails in reaching the standard of providing all Alberta children with an age-appropriate curriculum on residential schools, Treaties, and Aboriginal peoples’ historical and contemporary contributions to Canada. I am also firmly committed to meeting the 93 Calls to Action in Calgary's White Goose Flying Report, as well as the 231 Calls to Justice in the Missing & Murdered Indigenous Women & Girls (MMIWG) Final Report. There is a lot of work to be done, and I am ready to advocate, listen and most importantly, learn with my fellow colleagues about how we can improve our support of Indigenous students and families in the CBE. I am guided by poet Maya Angelou, "Do the best you can until you know better. Then, when you know better, do better."Visit website