Why are you running for public office?
Public education is the benchmark of a strong civil society. Public education's purpose is to empower all, access to learning and opportunity. It would be a privilege to serve children, constituents, and the greater city at large to improve one of the basic pillars of society.
What previous experience has prepared you for this role?
For the past three years I have been a constituency manager advocating for constituents daily. I assist individuals on how government works, what services are available, and provide them with an access point to have their voices heard in government. In this role I have learned time management, public speaking, problem solving, collaboration, privacy, and dealing with difficult situations. I also have four children in CBE, one with special learning needs and have seen first hand some of the success and shortcomings that exist. With this personal and professional experience comes an increased capacity to appreciate and work with peoples concerns, perspectives, and needs.
What three ideas do you have to improve the quality of education?
- Empowering teachers/principals to make decisions on a local level to suit their individual needs.
- Increase openness and effective communication with the community at large.
- Streamline the process to allow front line educators more time to effectively contribute to students.
What are the top issues problems facing school boards?
School boards need to be proactive about how they communicate with public, parents, and students. There needs to be improved relationships with administration, public, and the province and the recognition that all should be working together in a collaborative approach for the best public education possible.
What are the most important changes that need to be made regarding the role of school boards in Alberta?
The CBE needs to increase public accountability, demonstrate a recognition that their decisions made daily have a direct impact on children's lives, and more effective communication with the public in a proactive approach.
How can school boards most effectively influence the financial and policy decisions of the provincial government?
To greater influence the provincial government, the CBE needs to demonstrate an effective use of public dollars and but also clearly articulate why public dollars are needed to advance the needs of public education.
In light of the current funding situation, what strategies should the school board use to meet the infrastructure needs of Calgarians?
The most important question in the decision of infrastructure needs is "do children have a quality facility to maximize their educational experience that is a reasonable distance away."
The answer maybe yes for some communities and no for others. When "no" is the answer then all of the stakeholders must come to a resolution to work out the planning process. Shared facilities, such as multi-use facilities may work in some situations as long as the primary goal of children's safety is never compromised.
What limitations, if any, should the school board place on the involvement of private organizations in school?
The custodians at my children's school are amazing and feel ownership and a sense of community towards the school. They know the school, children, administration and work together as a team to improve the quality of the school. I would not be in favour of changing this. However, I already am aware of some schools in Calgary where the parking lot maintenance is sub-contracted out with good results. What should not be compromised is the integrity public ownership.
Is there anything else you'd like to share with us?
The board needs to have some new perspectives and I have the experience of working with all the stakeholders to make it work. I have a personal vested interest in making public education work for all. No other investment government makes can produce the benefits and returns that Education produces.