New LRSD Board of Trustees
With the wrap-up to municipal elections across the province, Livingstone Range School Division (LRSD) is pleased to announce the results of votes for the LRSD Board of Trustees.
In Ward 1, encompassing Nanton, Stavely, Claresholm and Granum, the positions were sustained by incumbents John McKee and Brad Toone.
Ward 2, representing Cowley, Lundbreck and the Crowsnest Pass, saw incumbent Clara Yagos retain her position and new candidate Greg Long filling the spot formerly held by Kristy Stevens.
In Ward 3, representing Fort Macleod and Pincher Creek, incumbent Lori Hodges retained her position, joined by new candidate Lacey Poytress and Jim Burdett, a former LRSD trustee returning to the office. Former Ward 3 trustees Martha Ratcliffe and Shannon Scherger opted not to vie for their positions in this election.
The new board held their first official meeting on Tuesday, October 24, with all members sworn in for the upcoming four-year term. The board also elected Brad Toone to the position of Board Chair, and Lori Hodges to the position of Vice Chair. Chair positions will be held for two years.
Acting Superintendent Darryl Seguin underscores the importance of the Board of Trustees in determining how best to meet the needs of students and schools in LRSD.
“Trustees are responsible for the development of goals and policies to guide the way we provide services to students in the Division,” says Seguin. “They reflect the values of the community and support educational legislation.”
Specific duties of the board include involvement in committees directed toward labour relations, awards and recognition, professional learning, policy review, and the Regional Council of Student Leaders, among others.
“I would like to offer congratulations to the new and returning board members on behalf of Livingstone Range School Division. I know they’ll serve the Division well over the next four years,” says Seguin.
WARD 1 (Nanton, Stavely, Claresholm, Granum)
John McKee has ranched west of Claresholm most of his life. He attended school in Claresholm, graduating from Willow Creek Composite High in 1975. John attended the University of Alberta and completed a BSc in Agriculture in 1979, and in 1982 completed a B.Ed. at the University of Lethbridge. John taught at a number of Alberta schools before returning to help operate the family ranch. His wife Jenny is a teacher at West Meadow Elementary School in Claresholm. They have three grown children.
John has held a number of volunteer positions in the past. He served as a hockey coach, trainer and manager on several hockey teams, as president of the minor hockey league and swim club, and as a 4-H leader. John was also a trustee for the former Willow Creek School Division.
Having been a teacher and school trustee, John has an understanding of everyday school operations. This perspective allows him to represent the stakeholders of Ward 1, making informed decisions that result in the best possible teaching and learning outcomes for students.
Brad Toone (Chair)
Brad is a native of Claresholm and a graduate of Willow Creek High School. He farms in the area with his wife and two daughters, both of whom attend West Meadow Elementary School. He brings dedication and a strong work ethic to his role as trustee.
As a parent of LRSD students, Brad wants to ensure the parent voice is represented on the Board.
Initiatives that Brad would like to see supported this term are the modernization of J.T. Foster School in Nanton, and a review of the electoral ward boundaries.
Brad believes the most important roles of a trustee are to ensure accountability for expenditure of public dollars and to be a strong voice for all stakeholders.
WARD 2 (Crowsnest Pass, Lundbreck)
Greg Long (NEW)
Greg is a retired teacher who served in the Crowsnest Pass for 30 years. He and his wife, Connie, have three married sons and four grandchildren. Greg decided to become a trustee as he felt he was ready to be involved again in the education and welfare of young people.
In addition to his years in teaching, Greg was a chairman in the Alberta Teachers Association for 15 years. He has strong leadership and organizational skills, and is a positive, congenial and collaborative person.
The school environment is of utmost importance to Greg, and he hopes to get involved on committees that promote this.
Greg would like for each student to feel that school is a place they want to be. He believes it’s the responsibility of the school board to help them realize their potential and be prepared for a healthy mental, emotional and physical life.
Clara is a native of the Crowsnest Pass, growing up in Coleman and Burmis. She enjoys outdoor activities, gardening, animals and family. Clara has one daughter and a grand-daughter, and works as a part-time guard with the Corps of Commissionaires at the RCMP station in Pincher Creek.
Clara attended Livingstone School and went on to study education at the University of Alberta. She also earned a Master’s in Education at the University of Calgary, and was a social studies and elementary teacher at many schools throughout the province of Alberta until her retirement in 2006. Since that time, Clara has returned to the family farm at Lee Lake, near Burmis, and volunteers for a number of non-profit organizations in the Crowsnest Pass and Pincher Creek.
In her many years as a teacher and administrator, Clara has come to understand the issues facing our public school system, especially in rural areas. She knows the difficulties administrators and teachers experience in providing a quality education with diminishing resources.
Clara believes that students in rural areas should have the same advantages as their urban counterparts in class size, curriculum materials, availability of course options, technology and human resources.
WARD 3 (Fort Macleod, Pincher Creek)
Jim Burdett (NEW)
Jim is a store manager at Canadian Co-op Wool Growers. He and his wife, Charlene, have eight children and 15 grandchildren. Jim enjoys hiking, sports and the outdoors. Jim was previously a LRSD trustee for seven years. He missed being a member of the board and returned because he believes there is still work to be done.
Strengths that Jim brings to the trustee position are experience, passion, directness and determination. He also has a love for student learning and an understanding of governance and accountability.
Jim’s focus as a board member is on student success and all issues that affect student learning, as well as to help find a new superintendent to serve the Division for years to come.
Lori Hodges (Vice Chair)
Lori has lived in Fort Macleod for 11 years. She has three children – one in college and two in grade 11. Lori works at His and Hers Hair Salon in Fort Macleod. She has a passion for education and a willingness to learn and listen.
Lori believes in the work of Livingstone Range School Division, and her committee work with parents is very important to her. She hopes to build stronger relationships between parents and the Division.
The most important role of the board, in Lori’s view, is to do what’s best for children and to ensure every decision is based around them.
Lacey Poytress (NEW)
Lacey is a mother of four, married to husband Aaron for 11 years. She teaches fitness classes and loves to run, read and spend time with her family. She is personable, open-minded, dedicated and is available to dedicate time to her new role.
Lacey believes the education of children is the most important thing we can invest our time and money into, and she became a trustee so she could be part of the process of ensuring each child receives the best education possible.
Goals that are important to Lacey include safe learning environments, student equality, acknowledgment of student achievements and maintaining a “students first” philosophy.
As a trustee, Lacey wants to ensure students receive the best education and teachers have the proper tools to provide it to them.