October 14, 2013

Stephen Dufresne

Stephen Dufresne

If you want to make God laugh, make a plan." After my retirement earlier this year I decided to take some time off. I have worked for 46 years; in government, consulting engineering, as an ESL teacher abroad, self-employment and a business manager for a mega-parish.

Recently, very early one morning, I woke up suddenly with a clear thought that I should run for the position of Catholic school board trustee in the upcoming election.

So here I am following through on that thought and I am sure that God is having a good laugh as it all unfolds.

I am also running because I feel that, serving as a trustee, is a stewardship opportunity to share with others in the business of education – my talents, business skills and experiences.

In 2011-12, the Edmonton Catholic Separate School District No. 7 received operational funding of $318,849,300, was responsible for the education of 33,998 students in 100 schools and had 1,815 certificated staff members. Catholic education is indeed a business.

In the area of education itself, I believe that to be successful in meeting the challenges and opportunities presented by our constantly changing and evolving world, our graduates will need to be:

Engaged thinkers: Be prepared to continually ask "Why?"

Ethical citizens: Be ethical, compassionate and respectful in order to grow and thrive.

Entrepreneurial spirit: Be bold, motivated, resourceful, embrace leadership, actively seek new ideas and opportunities.

In the area of faith instruction, this key element of our Catholic education system needs to be fully developed in each of our graduates so their faith will serve them as they deal with the many life and moral decisions on their journey.

"We need to educate your children for their future not our past."

Kara Pelech

Kara Pelech

I am seeking a second term as trustee for Ward 77 because I see the need for a pro-active trustee who advocates for our students, staff and Catholic community.

As the mother of four (three currently attending Catholic schools), I have a vested interest in what is happening in our schools. I see firsthand what our schools offer our students, and I see some of the challenges that the district faces as well.

I have experience, leadership ability and a strong business background. I have a clear understanding of board governance, which is a fundamental element to a functional board. I am an independent thinker and will seek out as much information as possible - something I see as a much-needed change.

Inclusive education has always been a passion of mine. Some changes have been made. But more support is still needed to have a successful inclusive educational environment. A stronger position needs to be taken with the government on advocating for appropriate funding.

English language learners and full-day kindergarten: A stronger position needs to be taken with the government in advocating for funding. Research clearly supports the value of investing in early learning.

Ensuring that the budget process is transparent and that funds are distributed equitably: The priority should be putting funds back into classrooms to support the teacher.

Engaging the community in understanding the importance of publicly funded Catholic education: We need to keep this at the forefront of our advocacy.

I am active in my parish. I am on several committees at St. Theresa's Parish and am currently president of the CWL. I am also on the parish council for Corpus Christi Parish.

I had the honour of representing Ward 77 from 2007 to 2010. I ask for your vote on Oct. 21. For further information please visit karapelech.com.

Roger Riashy

Roger Riashy

As an experienced Catholic teacher and school administrator, I have received parental concerns about the level of Catholicity in our schools. I believe we can do a better job of helping parents pass on the faith to their children.

As trustee, I will use my formal training and skills to restore the teaching of the catechism in all grades. As a past vice-principal, I know that with a well-developed curriculum, training and support, our teachers can do an excellent job of teaching the Catechism of the Catholic Church to our students.

During my campaign visits in Ward 77, parents in general expressed their growing concern about student fees.

As trustee I will make it my top three priorities to reduce the amount of money spent on the school board and administration, the amount of money needed from parents in student fees, and the amount of time and energy needed for fundraising.

I strongly believe that:

School principals need to rely on input from parents, teachers and staff when developing school budgets and programs to maximize the quality of educational services.

The board of trustees must develop a "school report card" establishing set outcomes to ensure the quality of education delivered. It will be based on a yearly comprehensive parent satisfaction survey asking about the state of school Catholicity, quality of programs, student discipline policies, school leadership, classroom instruction, and communication between school and home.

Keeping community Catholic schools open is a priority realized by increasing enrollment, spending wisely and together encouraging demographic growth.

As a school trustee, my role will be to carefully consider issues and strategies based on the needs of Catholic stakeholders, including the well-being of teachers and support staff, to build the best Catholic educational system possible.

For more information, visit my website: www.rogerriashy.ca or contact 780-807-9191.

Laura Thibert

Laura Thibert

I have a deep rooted commitment to Edmonton and the community in which I was born and raised. After graduating from St. Francis Xavier High School, I earned a management degree at Grant MacEwan University.

Together with my husband and four children, we strived to strengthen our community ties. From the beginning of our educational journey I have been involved as a representative on parent council, serving as president till the commencement of my first term as trustee.

I was elected as trustee for Ward 77 in 2010, during which time I have represented the board on the Alberta Catholic School Trustees' Association and served as chair of planning. I also served on committees for public engagement, policy and board development.

Outside trustee involvement within the community focuses on early learning coalitions as well as participating on a number of political constituency boards. I currently serve on The Meadows Community League Board as vice president; I am also a member of St. Theresa's Roman Catholic Parish and the Catholic Women's League.

As a trustee, I am committed to setting priorities, demanding accountability and insisting on excellence. I will continue to lead through effective governance policies that oversee the administration's implementation of our human, financial and physical resources.

I believe an effective board will work with all stakeholders, develop partnerships, and focus on educational excellence and high standards in all Edmonton Catholic schools.

Above all, I believe that focusing on student learning and our distinct Catholic identity will commit us to graduating students who are productive citizens, spiritual leaders and critical thinkers.

I am motivated to seek re-election because I passionately believe that every generation is entitled to the benefits that a well-rounded education within a Catholic school can offer them and I am committed to making that a priority.