Happy New Year!

I love this time of the year. Much like the start of a new school year, the beginning of a new calendar year is filled with promise and opportunity. With those prospects in mind, I dare to dream and plan about what’s possible in the coming 12 months.

One of the things I dream about and think about is how we can support our students, and how our work as school board trustees is a privilege and an opportunity. Our deliberations, our meetings, our decisions – everything we do as trustees and as part of a school board helps create the foundation that makes possible a vibrant future for each of our students.

As a school board trustee, I love the work that I do with my own division on behalf of students – we all do. Whether we serve as a representative or on Executive Committee for this Association, our heart is for our community first: we always want to improve conditions and opportunities for students in our own divisions.

As President of the Public School Boards’ Association of Alberta, I have incredible opportunities every single day to help raise awareness about the importance of our work, and why we’re so passionate about it.

I’m often asked about what it’s like working on a provincial level. For me, it’s just a great feeling at the end of each day, knowing that the work we do provincially and the ability to bring forward issues and challenges – and talk about solutions – will benefit our individual divisions too. Being able to reach out have a conversation with the Minister of Education and other MLAs, all of the great speakers and professional development that we get – all of this we can bring back to our own communities to make public education even stronger and better.

As President, I’m really thrilled about being able to meet with all of our member boards and get to know each of our members. I leave every meeting with a greater appreciation for their goals and passions, as well as a better understanding of their division and their priorities. For me, this has been one of the real highlights of the past year and I look forward to getting to know more.

I’ve also really appreciated meeting with our non-member school board colleagues. We share a commitment to public education and a dedication to diversity, inclusion, choice and respect. Of course, in support of our work plan, I also share with them the benefits of belonging to PSBAA, and how we can strengthen our relationships and achieve our common goals by working together.  

We have a work plan – designed by our members – to which we are committed. We also have an ambitious campaign to get public education front and centre on the agenda of all the political parties as we head into a spring provincial election. We want to raise more awareness about exactly where our education dollars are going, and that’s one of the biggest goals for me.

We want to hear from you, too, over the next 12 months and beyond: what’s important to you, why you support public education, and how we can work together to strengthen our educational system and communities for the benefit of all students. This is precisely why we launched the Together for Students campaign – to start a conversation about the future of education in Alberta, and what that future should look like. I’ll share more thoughts on this in my next blog post but, in the meantime, please visit the togetherforstudents.ca website to find out more.

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