As students return to school, candidates hoping to represent them and their parents as school board trustees are hitting the campaign trail before the Oct. 16 election. Seats are available in Ward 73 of Edmonton Catholic School District and Ward D of Edmonton Public Schools.
Jeff Lee, a teacher and owner of a learning support centre, as well as a candidate for Ward 73, sees education as a cornerstone of social development. In his work with Treaty 8, he saw gaps in how government funding gets allocated.
“I recognize the challenges some of these kids have,” said Lee, acknowledging his ward has a diverse immigrant population and a wide income spectrum. “Schools should be a safe environment. It’s about the kids. They need a voice.”
Lee has been contracting with Tallcree First Nation in northwest Alberta, teaching life skills to youth, but his roots are in Edmonton.
“I want to be of value to the community, to be supportive and to listen,” said Lee.
Tamie Perryment, Ward D candidate, has served many years as a community developer with the Ben Calf Robe Society and as a director on various boards focusing on social empowerment.
“My work has been with youth and families, people who are generally marginalized,” said Perryment. “I’ve been involved with non-profits in the social justice sector most of my life.”
Living in Norwood, Boyle, and now Parkdale-Cromdale for 37 years, Perryment explained communication is a pillar of good governance.
“I’ve always had an interest in how parents and schools interact with each other,” she said. “Duties like decision making and policies, these happen, but my interest has always been to inform the community what important changes we need to make, to improve education.”
A former CBC reporter and broadcaster, Trisha Estabrooks’ candidacy in Ward D stems from her journalism background.
“My roots are in journalism, and I just wanted to do more,” said Estabrooks. “Working for the CBC, which speaks up for voices that aren’t always heard, that idea of public service is ingrained in me.”
A core issue for her is ensuring small community schools are well supported as viable options for parents.
“A strong local school acts as a draw for retaining families,” said Estabrooks, who has lived in Delton and now lives in Highlands.
Adam Millie, who was running for Ward D, has stepped out of the race, citing family and time constraints for his withdrawal.
Current trustees in Wards D and 73 are stepping down. Ray Martin, trustee for Ward D and MLA (Norwood) for 11 years, said he’s ready to downsize.
“I give credit to all the teachers and principals in the ward,” said Martin. “There’s growing diversity in the classrooms, with many challenges. They’re doing great work.”
Cynthia Olsen, trustee for three terms in Ward 73, also feels it’s time to step away but is proud of Edmonton Catholic Schools’ accomplishments.
“I feel I’ve contributed,” she said. “Aboriginal learning services have improved, and we now exceed provincial standards for graduation rates and for transition to post-secondary.”
Also holding elections is the North Central Francophone Education Region No 2. The closest francophone school to the RCP coverage area is École À la Découverte, southwest of Kingsway Mall.
The above list of candidates were known as of press time and can be contacted through their websites. Official nominations are Sept. 18.
DID YOU KNOW?
According to the Alberta School Boards Association, school boards act for the legislature in their local schools and communities. Duties include making policies and keeping the district’s school and facilities in order.
The Edmonton Public School board has nine trustees.
Edmonton Catholic School District has seven trustees.
The Greater North Central Francophone Education Region No. 2 (covering north-central and northeast Alberta) has seven trustees.
Ward D is roughly bounded by Kingsway Mall in the west, the Yellowhead in the north, and the river.
Ward 73 includes much of north central and north east Edmonton.
To find out more, visit www.asba.ab.ca.
Tamie Perryment: www.votetamiewardd.com
Jeff Lee: www.votejefflee.com
Trisha Estabrooks: https://votetrishaestabrooks.com/
Featured Image: Vote for school trustees on Oct. 16. Delton School, pictured, is in Ward D. | Talea Medynski