A former MLA from Saskatchewan has made a surprising political comeback in Alberta.

Gordon Dirks, 67, was sworn in as Alberta's minister of education Monday.

He was previously a Regina MLA and a cabinet minister in Grant Devine's Progressive Conservative government in the 1980s. But he's been out of politics for three decades.

It is a rarity in Alberta politics to have a cabinet minister who is not elected. It's expected Dirks will run for a seat in a byelection.

Dirks represented Regina Rosemont from 1982 to 1986. Devine appointed him social services and urban affairs minister.

He was defeated in the 1986 election.

A pastor and school administrator, he moved to Alberta where he worked for the provincial government for awhile and later became the chair of the Calgary public school board.