Calgary·Calgary Votes 2021

Meet your candidates for public school trustee in wards 1 and 2

When you head to the polls on Oct. 18, in addition to casting a vote for mayor and city councillor, you will also be voting for a school trustee. 

Four people are vying for the chance to represent wards 1 and 2 at CBE board table

Four candidates running in wards 1 and 2 for the Calgary Board of Education spoke with CBC News about what issues would be important to them if they were elected. (Monty Kruger/CBC)
(CBC)

When you head to the polls on Oct. 18, in addition to casting a vote for mayor and city councillor, you will also be voting for a school trustee. 

CBC News reached out to all the candidates for wards 1 and 2 and asked them to write their own short bio adhering to a strict word count introducing themselves and explaining what issues would be important to them if they were elected as school board trustee. 

There are four candidates running in wards 1 and 2, and there is no incumbent. 

Adam Dossa

Adam Dossa is running for public school trustee in wards 1 and 2. (Submitted)

I have lived in Ward 1 for five years and am a parent who is concerned about the attack on parental rights and choice in education and the fiscally irresponsible behaviour putting an increased burden on parents in this very difficult time.

I strongly oppose any policy or law which bypasses parental consent and interferes with the parent, child bond. Parents know what is best for their child — not government, bureaucrats or activists. Parents should be included in all decisions regarding their children except in rare and unique circumstances.

We need financial stewards that will stop having shortfalls and manage the budgets more responsibly and stop blaming others for the revenues and finances. It is time to take responsibility! 

With the COVID-19 pandemic, I am opposed to mandatory masks and vaccinations for children and believe this should be up to the parents and what they think is best for their children. Parents know their children best which is why I support, and will be working toward parents being more involved and getting their rights back to parent their children and be involved in the decision-making process. 

There must be a variety of options available to every parent when they are looking for the best placement for the education of their children. Freedom to attend a public school, a faith-based school, an independent school or to home school should always remain a choice.

Dana Downey

Dana Downey is running for public school trustee in wards 1 and 2. (Submitted)

I am running for public school trustee in wards 1 and 2 because I truly care about public education. I am a teacher, a parent and a proven advocate for Calgary Board of Education students. 

In my capacity as a resource teacher in the CBE, I built and engaged support networks for increased student support.  I have hands-on experience working directly with students, families, teachers, administrators and community agencies to ensure student success. My knowledge and experience in education allows me to advocate for resources with understanding and authority. I have been, and will continue to be, an advocate for students with exceptionalities. I have developed curriculum for the Alberta Foundation for the Arts that I delivered with a team in Indigenous communities across Alberta.

If elected, I will work to ensure health and safety protocols and standards improve and remain in place to protect students and staff. I will advocate for curriculum that is based on proven methods and the latest research in teaching and learning. I will work for adequate and sustainable funding to keep community schools open. I would also like to better connect our schools to community agencies for increased student support. I am committed to the continuous improvement of our public education system because I believe in quality, accessible education for all learners.

Allan To 

Allan To is running for public school trustee in wards 1 and 2. (Submitted)

I'm a Chartered Public Accountant and designated supply chain professional with over 20 years of professional experience in governance, planning and execution in the private and non-for profit sectors.

As a results-focused individual with a continuous improvement and strong governance mindset, I want to contribute my background to improve and build a safe world-class public education system. I believe that public education is the foundation of a healthy and thriving society. As a trustee, I will advocate for safe quality education that can be accessed by all.

We live in a time characterized by the effects of the pandemic, intense global competition, and rapid changes. The safe and quality development of the whole child so they can be future leaders and active contributors to society is important to me. More specifically, I'm passionate to work on your behalf to ensure the safety of our students during the pandemic, to advocate for funding a quality curriculum that best prepares our children for the future, and to ensure that our system operates effectively and resources are deployed on the right priorities.

As a refugee to Canada at the age of five, I have grown up in northwest Calgary and have benefited tremendously from inclusive and equitable access to education. As a parent of three beautiful children and an active member of our community, I'm committed to making our community stronger and being your voice for the future of education with integrity, accountability and respect.

Melanie Wen

Melanie Wen is running for public school trustee in wards 1 and 2. (Submitted)

I am a mother of two children who are currently attending public school. I have over five years of experience as a board member on a national organization that regulates immigration consultants and the Immigration Consultants of Canada Regulatory Council (ICCRC).

There are three main issues that I am passionate about. First, is keeping students, teachers and school staff safe from COVID-19 by implementing safety procedures such as improved ventilation.

Second is to advocate for sustainable and adequate funding for the CBE. The third is to work with the province to revise the K-6 draft curriculum. I would advocate for a curriculum where students are being taught in the context of 2021, not 1950.

I would like to see a curriculum that teaches more about critical thinking and deeper understanding of history and society over memorization of facts. I would also like to see a curriculum that is more age appropriate. If elected, I would strongly recommend that we do not implement the curriculum and advise the provincial government to address the concerns teachers and parents have. 

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