Calgary·Calgary Votes 2021

Meet your candidates for public school trustee in wards 6 and 7

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.

Five people are vying for chance to represent wards 6 and 7 at CBE board table

Five candidates running in wards 6 and 7 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 6 and 7 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 five candidates running in wards 6 and 7, and there is no incumbent. 

Olga Barceló

Olga Barcelo is running for election as public school trustee in wards 6 and 7. (Submitted)

There are four main points to my platform. The first is ensuring that students are receiving a modernized curriculum that prepares them for a modern labour market. I have serious concerns about the provincial government's draft curriculum, as it does not set students up for future success. 

The second element of my platform is that we need COVID-19 testing and tracing in our schools. Students should be able to learn with proper public health measures to ensure their safety. COVID-19 affects everyone, young people included. This pandemic has taken a strain on everyone, especially parents and staff who have been doing the tracing in the schools.

The third element of my platform is finding ways to decrease class sizes. We owe it to students to ensure they are given the time and attention needed in school, considering how this pandemic will affect future generations. The CBE needs to start prioritizing the unique learning needs of all children when constructing budgets. We need to advocate for more schools as well. 

The last element to my platform is that we need to do better on reconciliation, and supporting our BIPOC students. We need to do better, we need to have a board who is dedicated to working together to ensure we are working toward the calls to action from the White Goose Flying Report. 

I'm running because we need change, we need to support our students.

Patricia Bolger

Patricia Bolger is running for election as public school trustee in wards 6 and 7. (Submitted)

I'm running for CBE school trustee because I truly believe in the power and the value of public education. Regardless of what choices parents make for their children, everyone benefits from a strong public education system. Cities and communities are safer, more productive, and resilient when students receive a quality education.

As a trustee, I would bring a broad perspective to the role. My 11 years as a classroom teacher, my current role as a sessional and field instructor at the University of Calgary, Werklund School of Education, and being a parent to three children — who all attend(ed) public schools — has provided me with tremendous experiences and background.  I hold a B.Ed. and  M.Ed. from the University of Alberta.

My first priority as trustee is standards of excellence. We must work to elevate the quality of education students receive and create environments that promote excellence, building upon exemplars in successful programs.

My second priority as trustee is common sense.  We must foster common sense, thoughtful and fiscally sound decision-making.  I believe the Board must be transparent and accountable to its many stakeholders – students, parents, and the citizens of Calgary. 

My third priority as trustee is the curriculum.  We must ensure a curriculum is developed and implemented that is developmentally appropriate, challenging, and based on current educational research and best teaching practices.

The time is right to influence positive change through collaboration, respect and consensus-building by bringing objectivity and commitment to the board.

Barbara La Pointe

Barbara La Pointe is running for election as public school trustee in wards 6 and 7. (Submitted)

As a longtime resident of Calgary, my children have attended both public and charter schools in these wards. As a parent of three children with unique learning differences, I am very aware and experienced in what it means to advocate for your child within our school system. As an art educator and conflict-resolution coach, I am deeply committed to collaboration and advocacy. I am also proudly Métis and fluently bilingual in French and English.

Our children deserve an education that prepares them for our ever-changing world; where they are taught life-long skills and strategies that will give them the tools to adapt and learn; where they are empowered to thrive.

Our school board needs to be accountable to the families they are responsible for teaching. Our students and parents/guardians need to have a voice in their education. 

The main issues I am most passionate about are: In-class resources to empower teachers to support the diverse learning challenges of their students, incorporating financial literacy in K-9 curriculum, improving Indigenous education and opportunities, and teaching our kids to be 21st-century learners. Critical thinking, creative thinking, communicating and collaborating are essential life skills — which all new curriculums should be based on.

I will leverage my coaching skills to negotiate and lead with diplomacy and grace. Together we can meet the vital and critical education issues with integrity and strong leadership.

Cheryl Munson

Cheryl Munson is running for election as public school trustee in wards 6 and 7. (Submitted)

I am the mother of two amazing kids, ages 11 and 9. I have worked in the healthcare industry for more than 15 years as a massage therapist, personal trainer and nutrition coach. Prior to that, I worked in hospitality. 

I believe our children need to be the first and last priority in schools. I believe with financial responsibility, we can ensure that more money is being spent at the school level in support of the teachers and kids, the programs they want and need, the supplies that they require, and less on the upper levels of administration. I believe that parents and the community need to have more input into what our children are learning and that requires a trustee who is able to communicate and engage with the constituents. Consult first, make decisions second. 

As a parent, I'd like to have more transparency in decision-making. How did they come to a decision, why did they come to that decision, what process did they go through before reaching a decision and who did they consult first? 

If I am elected trustee, I will make sure transparency and accountability will be honoured. 

Ultimately, I want to be an advocate for the children and their schools. School is the center of their lives and I believe we can work together to make it the absolute best for them.

Carter Thomson

Carter Thomson is running for public school trustee in wards 6 and 7. (Submitted)

I would be honoured to be your public school trustee for wards 6 and 7. My three sons and two stepdaughters all were in the public system.

Now, their kids will be sending their children to school as well. As a very concerned grandpa, I would like to give my input to shape the education of our kids. Our future will be in their hands.

Not agreeing with group-think should not be sanctioned. Our past should not be canceled but should be taught — warts and all.

The new draft curriculum needs to be redrafted. In my opinion, much of it is not age-appropriate. If elected, I will be accountable.

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