Black Gold School Division

780-955-6025

2021 Candidate Profiles

Ward 1

(including the Village of Warburg and Town of Thorsby) – One (1) Trustee

Michelle Martin (elected by acclamation)

Candidate Profile

My family of six resides in Thorsby, Alberta. My older three children have all graduated and have started the challenge of adulthood. Our youngest is in Grade 9. We are currently navigating the waters of distance learning during the pandemic.

I have worked in the insurance industry for the past ten years and prior to that I raised my kids at home. I have volunteered with Thorsby Minor Hockey, Thorsby Minor Soccer, Thorsby Elementary hot lunch program, field trips and other classroom activities. I am also on a board of directors for a condominium association, member of the IBAA and Insurance Institute of Northern Alberta. I am also a proud member of BNI and a tribe member of Cyndicate.

When I am not working or volunteering, you can find me reading, watching movies and TV shows. I also enjoy quadding and recently joined an ATV club. My husband and I enjoy kayaking and spending time with our dogs, Leroy, Maggie, Kenya and Winnie. Large family gatherings are always encouraged and we look forward to our children being at home.

Platform

Hello, my name is Michelle Martin. I am running for BGSD Trustee as I believe that education is important, and this is something we do all our lives. Living in a rural community has its challenges and being a part of the best school division is a perk. Having a board of trustees that understands the challenges of small schools, limited funding and modernization of schools is important.

My goal is to work with both Warburg and Thorsby and learn what resources they have and what is needed. I will attend the school meetings with a positive attitude and will listen to what you have to say and then I will be your voice in our meetings.

Enrollment decline is major hurdle in small rural communities, I will also work with the Town of Thorsby and the Village of Warburg to see where we may be able to work together to increase enrollment.

The past couple of years have been very strenuous on our students. Mental health is most important. I support early intervention and any resources for our students and their families.

Having a child in the distance learning program will help me help you explore options if that is what is needed for your family. I am good at listening, researching, and asking the hard questions.

Please contact me if you would like to meet. I would love to get to know you and your child.

Ward 2

(including the Town of Devon and the Town of Calmar) – One (1) Trustee

* denotes Incumbent.

Devonna Klaassen*

Contact
Devonna Klaassen
votedevonna@gmail.com
780-982-5640

Website: www.VoteDevonna.ca
Facebook: https://fb.me/VoteDevonna

Candidate Profile

I am a University of Alberta graduate, with a degree in Psychology, and had a previous career as a senior manager at a Crisis Centre. My husband and I are parents to a son (12) and a daughter (10), who are both Black Gold students in the Town of Devon.

I frequent the stairs and river valley trails in Devon, love playing games and being active with my family, and preserve our memories in digital photo-books.

I am an enthusiastic life-long learner, active volunteer, and avid reader. I enjoy reading research and best practice related to education, leadership, and governance.

I initially ran for a Trustee position as a parent passionate about the importance and value of education – both for our children and the community.  Four years later, this has only been compounded.

I am equally passionate about leadership. During this term, I have had the honour of being elected by the Board for one year as Vice-Chair, and two years as Chair, where I have worked tirelessly to further develop the governance role, foster professional growth, and have led the board through numerous “unprecedented” situations. I have also been invited to serve on committees at the provincial level.

Platform

Now, more than ever, leadership, knowledge, and experience are critical for strong advocacy and governance in Education.  I am self-motivated, hard-working, and eager to continue to serve as your voice to strengthen our education system – for today, and for the future.

Vision:

Children Come First: Publicly funded schools provide all children with the opportunity to learn. We need to do so in a way that honours their strengths, interests, and goals.

Everyone Matters: Fostering a culture of respect and acceptance within the student body is an integral role of a school.  Every person who walks through the door of a school should feel welcomed by the positive energy and sense of safety.  I value the importance of nurturing inclusion and diversity.

Health & Wellness: It is essential for the schools to work in conjunction with the community to ensure that our children’s most basic needs are met.  It is critical that proper education and supports for mental health and wellness are established and available. Equally important is ensuring enough physical activity is in place in order to teach life-long healthy habits, increase focus and attention, and facilitate social development.

Connection: Resilient children and youth feel capable, and are less likely to fall behind in their learning journey.  Providing and fostering positive supportive relationships is an essential first step in cultivating resiliency.

Community Hubs: To strengthen our communities and provide sustainability for the future, our education system needs to be integrated into the community, and reflect its needs.  Engaging, interacting, and building community partnerships creates a stronger sense of belonging at the community level, and positively impacts each child’s learning.  To quote an old proverb, “It takes a village to raise a child.”

Supporting Staff Supports Students: While the students come first, for their learning to thrive, we would be nowhere without our teachers and support staff.  Celebrating successes, ensuring a safe and caring work environment, and providing meaningful professional development is shown to directly and positively impact students and their success.

Informed Decision-Making: Data, best practice, and community representation are essential. I am honoured to advocate locally and provincially, and value the relationships and input from school communities.

Issues:

Part of leadership is thinking ahead and preparing for issues likely to come up.  The main issues on my radar:

– COVID / COVID Recovery

– Curriculum Development/Implementation

– New Funding Formula

– Enrollment Growth

– Being a ‘Rurban’ Division

– Mental Health/Wellness

On October 18, a vote for Devonna Klaassen is a vote for your voice – our children – the future.

Ron Patrick

Candidate Profile

After I ran for Trustee in the Central Division in 2017, many folks told me, “I would have voted for you, but I didn’t know who you were.”  So over the past four years I have tried to correct that.  I started by baking cinnamon buns at the Glen Park Hall.  They love me over there.  I became the Devon Representative on the County Parks and Rec Board. I am a Leduc County Fire Guardian, and member of the Subdivision and Appeal Board.  Taught Online Seniors Computer Class as a member of the Glen Park Hall Board.  Work with County Family and Community Support Services.   I was the Central Poll Supervisor at Calmar Legion for the last election and CPS for Advanced and Election Day Polls this year.

As a retired teacher/administrator of 37 years I have a wealth of knowledge, education and experience. My wife, children and I, with several of our grandchildren have degrees from the U of A and I have a Doctorate in Educational Leadership.  I have worked as a supervising teacher for student teachers and hosted many foreign student teachers.  For two years of COVID I taught daily early morning ZOOM class for high school students.

I play pickleball at Calmar, Thorsby and Leduc. I lead many youth outdoor camps and adventures. My wife, Arja, with our 6 children and 21 grandchildren celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary this June.

Platform

My Triple A Platform:

Advocate:

An effective trustee is a strong advocate for the community, the board and every student.

*As your trustee, I will strive to be an advocate for small rural schools and promote alternatives to consolidation.

*As your trustee, I will be a strong voice for consultation on curriculum and collaboration that will meet the needs of ALL students.

Achievement:

*If I am elected, my efforts will support all students so they have equal access to the best academic, vocational, and creative arts opportunities possible.

*My goal is to enhance the viability of small rural schools and ensure all schools in Black Gold fulfill their mandate to allow all students to “Strive to Succeed” in building their future.

Access:

*As your trustee I will promote community partnerships, and meaningful parental engagement.

*I will further advocate shared use agreements between schools and the community.

Very recently, I observed three of my grandsons in their climbing class on the wall at the new Beaumont Rec Center.  To see the passion and energy of these little guys tackling the wall thrilled my soul.  Ron Patrick is about lifelong learning and providing the place, the circumstance, the example and opportunity to help children and youth really reach for the stars.

If I am elected as your trustee, I will strive to be:

*Student Centered

*An effective Communicator

*Team Player with our Board, Superintendent, Principals, Teachers, Parents and Students.

*Supportive of Families.

Mackenzie Woodcock

Contact
Mackenzie Woodcock
Mwtrustee@hotmail.com
780-886-5937

Facebook: Mackenzie Woodcock

Candidate Profile

I’ve grown up in Devon and proudly call it home. During my formative years it didn’t matter if an event was for 5 or 500, I was there to help keep it running. Ranging from helping at a booth during the taste of Devon, singing carols at Christmas in the park, taking orders and serving food at community hall events, or taking part in the many youth oriented groups. It has always been my passion to support the dreams of our community members and help create a support line for us all.

When I began secondary education, my first choice was on a degree that focused on refining my ability to listen. I spent 2 years in the Child and Youth Care program at MacEwan University. During that time I was on the student council to represent the program for both years, acting as President for one of them. The Program’s focus is on how to be able to create personable connections immediately, and recognize the context behind the words. Oftentimes the youth I worked with had been subject to developmental trauma and were considered as high risk

Platform

As the Ward 2 Trustee representing both Calmar and Devon schools together for the first time, I will work diligently to understand the unique challenges facing the schools in each community so I can proactively support our school community and work towards solutions. It is my belief that some issues may be solved within our communities through properly supporting the schools and some will need to be brought to the attention of the School Board. 

It would be my intention as a Trustee to have every decision that is made, and my standing on that decision, recorded for public viewing to promote transparency. In addition, I will strive to create the means for everyone in our communities to stay informed on current events. I want people to have access to all the important and relevant information. More to the point, I will do my best to provide the context of how School Board decisions will impact individual communities.

I firmly believe that the key to maintaining a strong community voice begins by being willing to openly talk about any question that is raised. Sometimes the best choices come from the question no one wants to ask. I am here to listen to those questions, provide support to look for the answers and be an effective voice at School Board meetings.

Ward 3

(including the City of Leduc) – Three (3) Trustees

* denotes Incumbent.

Angie Charpentier

Candidate Profile

Family

  • It is important to have a trustee who understands the current needs of our students. I am a working mother who currently has THREE children in the Black Gold School District; elementary, junior high, and high school. I understand the challenges of all learners and their diverse needs. I have been invested in the education system because my oldest child has diverse learning needs.

Professional Experience

  • Social Work Diploma, Career Development Diploma, HR development Training
  • Triple P ( positive parenting program) and Fear Less certification
  • Twenty Five years of experience working in the Social Work and Career Development sector, including facilitation of mental health/trauma , life skills, career and parenting workshops.
  • My experience in the Social Work sector has allowed me to be diplomatic, compassionate, understanding, a great communicator, public speaker and listener.
  • I have had a successful career balancing work and family and have been able to take my experience and grow in Human Resources. My experience working in Human Resources has allowed me to create effective policies and regulations surrounding client programming and staff management.

Community/Advocacy

  • My family has lived in the community for 20 years and have taken an active role in the community, including advocacy and volunteer work. I have personal experience advocating for children with diverse and special learning needs.

My diverse work experience has allowed me to apply my strengths as a  Social Worker, HR professional, Mental Health instructor, parenting coach (Triple P Certified), Career Development professional and as a Parent.

Platform

A trustee should have an agenda based on what the community needs and values.  Please vote for a trustee who will bridge the gap between the community and the school board.

The education system has gone through many challenges and it is important to have a leader who can diplomatically handle concerns and issue and promote an engaging environment when working with the community and the administrator’s.

Understanding of all family’s needs in our community and how to advocate are important values as a Trustee representative.

There is a lot happening in our education system and teachers, parents and community members need a voice. Everybody should have a voice because education impacts us all in some way.

I am passionate about putting education first and seeing every student succeed.  Trustee role is about listening and understanding issues and concerns.  I will tell you what I am passionate about, but I am open to understanding what is important to the community and working with all people who are invested in education.

Progressive Curriculum: I will advocate for curriculum that is based on proven methods and current research in teaching and learning methods. I will represent the communities voice regarding the proposed curriculum and promote engagement with the community in the development process.

Diverse Learning Needs: Connecting our schools to community resources to support students in their diverse learning and mental health needs.

Community Connection and Education Awareness: Community engagement and voices need to be heard.  Regular attendance connecting with parent groups and education workshops to ensure parents, teachers, and the community are heard

Public Education Funding: Prioritize funding for our schools to establish fair and adequate funding

Education Support: The individuals that work with our students need more assistance in the classroom.  Many students have diverse needs and some could benefit from specialized classroom support.

Teamwork approach for new schools: Network and collaborate with administrators using a proactive approach.  A collaboration with educators, community and administration on plan of action moving forward due to an increase in the Leduc population. Advocate for school funding, as many of our schools do not have adequate space for children to learn.

Gary Hansen

Contact
Gary Hansen
gbhansen@telus.net
780-986-1745

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/electgaryhansen

Candidate Profile

Gary believes in a strong public education system maintained through stakeholder collaboration and community engagement that provides maximum learning opportunities for students to achieve their best. He has consistently promoted the concept that all students should feel safe and respected in their schools, see themselves in their education and be engaged in their learning.

Gary and his wife, Bev, have lived in Leduc for over 35 years. His adult children attended Black Gold schools and have moved on to successful careers.

Gary has had a successful teaching career with three school boards in various parts of Alberta. He also has 20 years of experience in curriculum-based resource development.

Gary is a life-long learner. He has a Master of Education degree from the University of Alberta in social studies education. His interests include travelling and reading.

Platform

  • Build strong and inclusive schools that support students with diverse and complex needs
  • Manage effects of Covid-19 in schools related to learning gaps and mental health
  • Engage stakeholders in the development and implementation of new curricula
  • Lobby for stable and fair funding
  • Build strong school communities through community engagement
  • Network and collaborate with education stakeholders

Barb Martinson*

Contact
Barb Martinson
bjmartinson@outlook.com
780-986-4726

Candidate Profile

I grew up in Leduc and attended elementary, junior and senior high school here. After completing high school I started working at the Royal Bank, where I was employed for 13 years. I am married to Arden and we have three grown children and six grandchildren (including two step grandchildren) who also attend the public school system. I enjoy spending family time when conversations flow about their life journeys.

Education is always a table-top discussion in my home, with the sharing opinions and experiences. Yes, sometimes opinions may differ but we still respect one another.

I enjoy gardening, visiting with friends, and spending time at our cabin at the lake.

Platform

I truly believe in a strong public education where EVERY child learns and EVERY child succeeds. The best investment for our future are the children. Current students will have a great impact on all residents as we move forward – we need a skilled. well educated workforce for Alberta’s 21st century economy.

As a current trustee representing Leduc, I am happy to be a candidate for the newly formed Ward 3 ( Leduc and adjacent Leduc County). My previous 22 years of volunteering on parent/teacher boards, on school field trips, as a lunch coordinator, etc. has given me the opportunity to see day-to-day school operations. For the past seven terms as a trustee I have gained significant experience and knowledge of education budgets, staffing, school bus transportation, school curriculum, infrastructure and maintenance costs, labour negotiations, and most importantly, what is best for students.

As a trustee, I am and will continue to be accountable and accessible to those with concerns. I am a team player ,respectful of other’s opinions,  willing to advocate and lobby government for education funding. I have the time and energy to fulfill the role of trustee, and would consider it a privilege if you entrust me to once again represent our students and the public school system.

Emily Meetsma

Contact
Emily Meetsma
emeet@shaw.ca
780-566-3523

Website: www.emilymeetsma.ca
Facebook: @ElectEmilyMeetsma

Candidate Profile

A graduate of Calvin University with an Education degree, I began my working career in Toronto as an editor with a major publisher, Prentice-Hall. I continue to work as an editor of legal documentation, supplementing that with work in Black Gold schools in Leduc.

I volunteered in Leduc classrooms with all four of my children for their preschool through high school years (2003 – 2021). I also served in leadership on school councils for over 15 years (often as chair). In addition, I spent almost 5 years chairing Covenant Christian School’s board for the alternative program, which oversees that school’s private facility, preschool, busing, and staff. At Leduc Composite High School (LCHS), I spearheaded the letter-writing campaign to retain our addictions counsellor and School Resource Officer Muz (both funded by outside organizations). At both Covenant and LCHS, I also worked on background governance such as bylaw development.

Five years ago I re-entered the classroom as an educational assistant (EA). A popular substitute, I aided teachers throughout Leduc with students of all ages and abilities. Most recently, I worked with high school students at Leduc Outreach, bringing compassion and understanding to students who don’t fit in a traditional school.

Platform

I am passionate about the value and role of education. Schools provide all students with valuable life skills, career options, and emotional development. Schools enrich students’ lives and prepare them for the future. Schools also provide essential social supports to families. Each student, family, and community is unique, but quality education helps them succeed.

I bring deep and broad experiences with Black Gold schools to the trustee position. As a leader, I engaged with school principals and administrators to learn about the issues they were facing and review potential solutions. I interacted with parents to learn how school decisions impacted families and what support they needed. Whether writing letters for LCHS, overseeing the many facets of Covenant’s alternative program, or planning last year’s COVID graduation, I strove to understand differing perspectives and find results that benefited students, staff, and families.

As a substitute Educational Assistant, I interacted with students across Leduc, helping preschoolers recognize numbers, encouraging elementary readers, assisting with junior high science projects, and aiding students with specialized individual programs. On staff at Leduc Outreach, I tutored and supported students in an alternative high school setting. In every role, I strove for student success, whatever that success looked like for each individual.

As a staff member I also experienced first-hand the joys and struggles in school workplaces. Many other staff inspired me with their dedication and creativity. I also shared their concerns and fatigue. We wrestled with the questions arising from educating today’s students for tomorrow’s challenges.

In my work as an editor, for over twenty years I have helped authors communicate clearly and professionally by organizing big ideas, polishing word choice, and engaging audiences. My strong oral and written communication skills will be essential as a trustee when I interact with policy while engaging with government and citizens.

Whether considering today’s issues (COVID restrictions, new curriculum), ongoing issues (funding models, student mental health), or issues we haven’t encountered yet, I offer proven leadership and extensive experience with students, staff, and parents. I understand the concerns facing schools, and I have the skills, commitment, and compassion to work for practical solutions. While being sensitive to student and family struggles, I dream of supporting creative and substantial initiatives that impact the students, schools, and communities that I love.

Jenn Roach

Contact
Jenn Roach
780-235-2200
cleangreen4ever82@gmail.com

Candidate Profile

Jenn was born and raised in Edmonton. After graduation, she moved to Ontario for four years before returning to Edmonton where she attended Grant MacEwan University and earned her Legal Assistant diploma.  Jenn has worked as a legal assistant in Leduc (where she lives with her husband) since 2012, and currently manages a sole practitioner’s law firm. Outside of work, she is a member of the Leduc Environmental Advisory Board, and in her spare time, she raises awareness on how we can increase the green footprints we leave on our planet.  Jenn is also certified as both a raw, whole-food, plant-based chef, as well as an organic master gardener.

Jenn is keen to serve the constituents of the Black Gold School Division, and as trustee, will be looking to engage directly with members of the community to receive feedback on all issues.

When it comes to education, Nelson Mandela’s famous quote “Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world” sums up how Jenn feels about learning and its importance and value to our society.

Platform

Quality Education – Alberta’s future, our students, deserve a curriculum that is developmentally appropriate and that can provide the foundation for their life successes.  The proposed curriculum put forth in early 2021 is lacking in many crucial areas and it would be wise to scrap it as it has already been rejected by 58 of 61 school boards.  Quality education starts with a strong curriculum that engages and benefits all children, and as trustee, I will add my voice to the call for the current draft curriculum to be tabled and for the curriculum to continue to be developed in collaboration by educators, school boards, students, specialists, and the provincial government.

Supports for All Children – With the recent cutbacks to funding in education, supports for all children which are necessary, especially for those who have learning and behavioural difficulties (‘complex learners’), have been negatively affected.  Complex learners benefit most from being included in classroom activities rather than excluded, and by not being labeled as ‘different’, or isolated from other children.  As all children have different learning styles and preferences, in-class supports such as educational assistants, speech pathologists, and other such therapists are essential for the complete education of all students. 

Without these essential in-class resources, students risk falling behind and requiring additional supports, which can place unnecessary financial and emotional burdens on families.  As trustee, I will advocate for adequate, predictable and sustainable funding for proper in-class supports, as well as Early Intervention Funding (formally Program Unit Funding) for children with complex needs.  I am committed to helping educators and parents work together to provide every child with what they need to succeed.

Gardening Goals – Food production is an essential skill that many children are not afforded the opportunity to learn in our convenience-based society.  The importance and fragility of our food systems were highlighted at the beginning of the pandemic when many countries shut their borders.  In a world full of uncertainty when planning for the future, it is imperative that skills for one of our fundamental basic needs, food, be addressed in our schools, and that the seeds for gardening and sustainable food production are planted in children now in order to provide food security to future generations. By advocating for adequate, predictable and sustainable funding, as trustee I will support any opportunities available to increase this important skill-set within our school system.

Rhonda Whitten

Contact
Rhonda Whitten
Electrhondawhitten@hotmail.com
780-980-2421

Facebook: Electrhondawhitten

Candidate Profile

My name is Rhonda Whitten. I have been a resident of Leduc for fifty-one years. I attended Linsford Park Elementary and Willow Park Elementary, and I graduated from the Leduc Senior High School in 1982.

I have been married to Harvey Whitten for twenty years. I currently work as a Heath Care Aide in our community. I have volunteered on the Family Community Support Services Advisory Board and I Chaired the Leduc Community Drug Action Committee. I am an effective communicator and I believe that teamwork is the key to success.

In my spare time I enjoy camping, reading, scrapbooking, and most importantly spending time with family and friends.

Platform

I will advocate to scrap the Curriculum Draft, stop cuts to education and, keep schools public. I will collaborate with all Black Gold School Division stakeholders. I value the quality education that I received through the Black Gold School Division.

The students today deserve the same quality of education therefore I will always put the needs of the students first. I am an effective communicator and that is a skill that will help me to engage with the stakeholders. I will always act in the best interests of the Black Gold School Division. I have advocated for the seniors of our community for twenty years and I would like the opportunity to support the children of the Black Gold School Division.


Ward 4

(including the City of Beaumont and New Sarepta schools attendance area) – Two (2) Trustees

* denotes Incumbent.

Missy Chehayeb

Contact
Missy Chehayeb
missy4familys@gmail.com
780-910-7956

Facebook: MissyforSchoolTrustee

Candidate Profile

I have lived, worked and volunteered in the Black Gold Community for over 23 years.  I have been immersed in our schools and community while raising our 7 children and now enjoy 8 grandchildren.  I was a foster parent for 25 years.  I have held many positions on Parent Council boards since 2003, sometimes numerous schools at the same time, to be a voice of our schools and population within.  I have advocated for School Resource Officers (SRO) in our communities.  Partner in establishing the 2004 “Leduc Community Drug Action Committee and continue as part of the team.  It was addressed that a Mental Health Youth Worker was needed for the area which I spearheaded with the schools and surrounding communities, and we were awarded a part-time position.  I have been on the City and County FCSS and Recreation Boards. 

Platform

As a trustee I will:

*Put student’s need first

*Provide transparency

*Advocate for quality education for all

*Work to open useful lines of communication

*Keep you informed of important developments

*Bring your concerns forward

*Participate in actively finding effective and Successful ways of helping those with mental health concerns.

I will be supportive open-minded to advocate for families and our schools. I have firsthand knowledge of many needs not addressed within our communities and the determination to bring those forward to work towards positive outcomes.

My goal is to take a more active and involved role within the education system, utilizing my years of firsthand experience and leadership.

Esther Eckert*

Candidate Profile

The New Sarepta area has been my home since 1983.  I live in my husband’s childhood home on our family farm. Our family includes two adult sons and five grandchildren. Four generations of Eckerts have attended the New Sarepta Schools.

I was an elementary school teacher for 25 years. (including substitute teaching in the end.) My career began in New Sarepta. Teaching students to love learning, seeing them engaged in discovery and building relationships that are still important to me was very fulfilling. Most of my teaching career was with Edmonton Public Schools.

I have enjoyed volunteering in Sunday School, Children’s clubs and as a musician. I sang with Sweet Adelines for many years and currently am a member of the Festival Singers in Sherwood Park. I foster large breed dogs, many with complex behaviors, for a local rescue. My hunt for challenges led me into the dog training industry and boarding business after I retired from teaching. I breed registered German Shepherds. My pack includes a four pound Biewer Terrier, Halley, who makes me very happy.

I am privileged to pursue my love for Education and bring my experience as an educator to Black Gold as a school trustee.

Platform

As an aspiring second term trustee, I believe that experience and continuity are invaluable to stable leadership and a smooth transition for the school division.

Looking back,  I was a part of a board that tackled some very tough issues, through the lens of what is best for our students.  While elected to represent the residents of County East, viewing the entire district’s needs required research, listening for understanding, building relationships and considering the common good of all. Serving on various committees offered insight into the many facets of school board governance.

With the recent boundary reconfiguration I will also be serving the residents of the City of Beaumont.  This school community  is familiar to me as I attended some school council meetings, Christmas Concerts and toured all the schools during my first term. As a substitute teacher, I was in the classrooms and met many of the staff and students of Beaumont.

Looking forward, there are current challenges, ongoing concerns and no doubt new issues to wrestle with as well.

Protecting our students from the draft curriculum is a battle  I am willing to fight hard.  As a former elementary school teacher, the shortcomings of the proposed curriculum are monumental. 

The fact that the voices of parents, educators, school boards and a myriad of experts in a variety of fields are being ignored by a determined government is alarming.

It is no surprise that after the tumultuous last year and half, many students have suffered educationally, emotionally and socially.  There is no quick fix for the damage the pandemic is causing.  Identifying and bridging learning gaps needs to be a school board priority with funds and staff designated to narrowing those gaps. Mental health supports need to be strategically and thoughtfully integrated into each school’s environment.

Among the ongoing concerns across the division, and definitely in Ward 4, is providing educational equity for both our rural and urban students.  Equity means that each student population will have access to programming and courses to meet their needs. With our rapidly growing population in Beaumont and  decline in general of rural populations, this is a delicate balancing act and an ongoing challenge for “ruban” boards such as Black Gold.

As I was in my first term, I am committed to supporting education with my time, talents, background as an educator, business owner, active community member and champion of public education.

Kim Murray

Candidate Profile

Kim Murray is a successful massage therapist and mother of three school aged children in Beaumont, AB.  Kim was born and raised in Alberta but ended up living in both Ontario and New Brunswick for a time before returning home to raise her family.  Kim is a successful massage therapist who loves being to provide wellness and healing to her clients.

Platform

Alberta school boards help shape the future of local communities and the future of the children attending those schools. Trustees ensure that all children in the community receive a quality education while maintaining transparency to the primary stakeholders, the parents. 

The school board and childhood school experience need to function cohesively as a fundamental part of our children’s growth; from a child’s very first day of school to their last.  Honest communication and inclusion has never been so forefront and can always use more attention.  A strong system can help to support these themes, just as a family does, while providing fundamental learning. It is for this reason that I am running as school board trustee for the Black Gold School Division. 

My personal commitment will be to encourage communication from all sides and promote involvement from all persons and stakeholders, for a progressive and unified education system. 

As a trustee, I will put careful consideration to all decisions and advocate for parent choice. I will be dedicated to developing solutions that include the minority and addressing all concerns. Our children and their families deserve a trustee that will support the needs of all. It is imperative that the choices reflect as much as possible both the individual and the group. 

As a representative of the people, I endeavour to continue learning and researching, in order to gain a better understanding on the best practices for our children’s future.  

Together we can develop and strengthen academic achievements to ensure our children’s education both meet and exceed global recognition.

Robyn Steed*

Candidate Profile

It has been my pleasure to serve as the Black Gold Trustee for Beaumont for the past four years and am honoured to seek re-election for 2021-2025.

As a 14 year Beaumont resident, and a mother of five, I have been actively involved in our community and schools since my children started pre-school.  I know the past four years were just the first chapter in making a difference and truly hope that I have the opportunity to continue the momentum.

I am a firm believer in transparency and collaboration. I hope to earn your vote so I may continue to provide this to our parents, community and students. One of the best tools one can bring to this role is to be an active and engaged listener. I pride myself on this quality and have used this to ensure that the voice of our community, families, staff and students is heard at the Board table.

Platform

As a successful School Trustee, I will

  • Ensure a quality education for all Black Gold Students
  • Oppose the Draft Curriculum
  • Prioritize collaborations with Beaumont Town Council and developers to acquire a service ready lot for a new Beaumont public high school
  • Continue to advocate on behalf of BGSD to communities, families, staff and government.

As a self motivated, hard worker, I am eager to serve and strengthen our education system. I see communication and respect as key tools in developing meaningful relationships within our communities, schools, board, administration and government.

As an engaged listener, I seek to understand and ensure I am well informed on every topic that affects the Board. As a lifelong learner, I welcome new opportunities to learn more about how our education system works and what doesn’t work. As well how we, as Board members, can support and advocate for our stakeholders.

As a community advocate, I have always worked to bring the voice of our communities and schools to the Board table. I am a collaborative, respectful team player, I value and admire working with an administrative team that strives to Inspire Success and meet the needs of Black Gold students, staff and families.

I am passionate about education and it would be my privilege to continue to represent the City of Beaumont, New Sarepta and surrounding communities as your Black Gold School Trustee.Continue to advocate on behalf of BGSD to communities, families, staff and government.