Decision 2013: Meet the School Board candidates I

'I feel small public schools are a wonderful environment for children to grow and learn.' - Patricia Standage

  • Oct. 9, 2013 5:00 p.m.

NAME: Staci Gerlitz.

HOMETOWN: Stettler.

AGE: 26.

FAMILY: Single.

YEARS ON SCHOOL BOARD: None.

YOUR COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT:

I have worked elections with my grandmother, and I have volunteered for the Handibus. I work at Bestway Travel, and used to run my own business, which I decided to close when I started working toward a degree in psychology. I am a helpful person, and if I see someone in need, I will do what I can to help them.

YOUR HOBBIES:

I love music, reading, writing, and travelling.

YOUR GREATEST ATTRIBUTES:

I am a good listener, and I understand everybody’s perspectives, even when they are not my own, which makes me able to help come up with solutions that benefit everybody.

I have the ability to be tactful, but I am strong enough to stand up for my beliefs, if challenged.

I am a past student of the three schools and graduated with the assistance of TTC Outreach. Without the support of a smaller school, I would not be where I am today.

MAIN ISSUES IN THE CAMPAIGN AND YOUR SUGGESTIONS TO ADDRESS THEM:

My biggest concern regarding education is how the subject of funding is starting to become more important than the students themselves. The financial aspect of education is very important, but it is only one part of the whole system. To me, education is more than money, grades and extra-curricular activities. Education is also about building the character of students, so they can prepare for the world outside of school. We should be looking at ways to make students want to be in school. One of my suggestions is to give the students a voice, and poll them to get their feedback on the proposed, reconfiguration changes.

***

NAME: Dave Goodwin.

HOMETOWN: Stettler.

AGE: 62.

FAMILY: Married to Barbara-Lynn, four children, seven grandchildren.

YEARS ON SCHOOL BOARD: None

YOUR COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT:

While in Stettler, I have been involved with the schools as a substitute teacher and guest lecturer. I have served on the boards of Stettler Variety Showcase and the Performing Arts Centre. I have been a performer with Heartland Arts Troupe and helped with music at the Anglican and United churches.

I am a business owner and operate Stettler Woodworks and Phoenix House Bed and Breakfast.

I am the current chair of the Destination Stettler tourism committee.

YOUR HOBBIES:

Music composition and furniture building.

YOUR GREATEST ATTRIBUTES:

I have the ability to compromise and conciliate. I have abundant board experience in many fields locally, provincially and nationally and have chaired many of these. Once I commit to something, I follow through. I am very comfortable addressing large groups of people.

MAIN ISSUES IN THE CAMPAIGN AND YOUR SUGGESTIONS TO ADDRESS THEM:

There are many issues facing Clearview schools. Some I will focus on are school closures, the future of the Outreach school, and administration alternatives. There will need to be considerable consultation and collaboration to come up with acceptable solutions for these. All I can promise is to do my best.

***

NAME: Peter Simons.

HOMETOWN: Stettler.

AGE: 51.

FAMILY: Single.

YEARS ON SCHOOL BOARD: Four and a half.

YOUR COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT:

I am very involved in continuing education, serving on the Stettler Adult Learning Committee and as a member of the Governance Team of Campus Alberta. I am also active in the Heartland Arts Troupe and serve on the executive of the MASH Pool League.

YOUR HOBBIES:

Hiking, downhill skiing and reading of all varieties.

YOUR GREATEST ATTRIBUTES:

A passion for serving my community and a willingness to tackle issues directly and honestly.

MAIN ISSUES IN THE CAMPAIGN AND YOUR SUGGESTIONS TO ADDRESS THEM:

The primary challenge facing Clearview schools over the next four years is how to maintain excellent programming and broad educational opportunities for students in an environment of shrinking provincial funding, increasing costs and expanding school responsibilities.

Over the past three years, Clearview has spent close to $2 million in reserves to maintain staffing levels and programming in its schools. This approach cannot continue as reserves will shortly be depleted — sticking with the status quo, as has been the approach of the board for the past three years, is not an option. I believe that Clearview must carefully review how it allocates funds, how it delivers rural programming and the cost-effectiveness and efficiency of its central operations. A forward-looking plan must be developed to deal with financial realities.

A rapidly changing educational landscape that includes increased choice and competition from other elements of the educational system, implementation of the provincial agenda for ‘transforming’ education and declining rural enrolment will also be a challenge. Major changes in legislation, special education funding and curriculum are already underway and trustees will need to keep informed on these initiatives and ensure that our voice is clearly heard by Alberta Education and the provincial government.

***

NAME: Cheri Neitz.

HOMETOWN: Erskine.

AGE: —

FAMILY: Husband Guy, and children Ty, Kylie and Shayla.

YEARS ON SCHOOL BOARD: Six years as a trustee for the Clearview School Division.

YOUR COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT:

I have participated in several fundraising activities for Stettler minor football and Wildcat football, put on banquets for the teams, taken thousands of pictures for the teams. Volunteer for Stettler Music Festival.

For the past two years, I have been president of the Stettler and East Central Alberta Area Relief Society (a women’s organization that can be found throughout the world).

YOUR HOBBIES:

Piano and photography.

YOUR GREATEST ATTRIBUTES:

I have a compassion for helping and working with people.

MAIN ISSUES IN THE CAMPAIGN AND YOUR SUGGESTIONS TO ADDRESS THEM:

Our school board has taken on many initiatives for this coming year. To name a few: we are in the middle of a Stettler complex reconfiguration study. We are also looking at ways of studying our smaller schools and we have government cuts to address.

I believe that keeping our community well-informed and seeking for their input is the right approach. Through this process, we can all work together and form partnerships to help make our schools a great environment for our students to thrive, and our communities a great place to live and work.

***

NAME: Patricia Standage.

HOMETOWN: Erskine. I grew up in Erskine and attended Erskine School from kindergarten to Grade 9, and graduated from William E. Hay Composite High School in 1984.

AGE: 47.

FAMILY: I have been married to Chris Standage for 23 years. We have three boys: Bill is a heavy-duty mechanic in Red Deer, Joe attends Lethbridge College, and Adam is in Grade 11 at William E. Hay.

YEARS ON SCHOOL BOARD: None.

YOUR COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT:

I am a past parent council president for Erskine School, I have been a Scout leader, a junior high school basketball coach, and a curling instructor at Erskine School.

For the past 12 years, I have been a trainer for the Stettler minor football team. I am currently volunteering with both the bantam and high school teams this season.

Next May will be the sixth year of the mini-marathon that I organize at Erskine School. The marathon raises funds for the Stollery children’s hospital.

YOUR HOBBIES:

My hobbies include running half-marathons, golfing, curling and watching football, which is the greatest sport in the world!

YOUR ATTRIBUTES:

I speak from experience in working with and for children and students for many years.

MAIN ISSUES IN THE CAMPAIGN AND YOUR SUGGESTIONS TO ADDRESS THEM:

I feel small public schools are a wonderful environment for children to grow and learn. My goal, if elected, would be to keep both Erskine and Donalda schools vibrant and viable, to ensure many more children can experience the positive educational journey my children and I have enjoyed.

 

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