Meet the Board of Trustees
School Boards and Trustees: Guiding Public Education in Alberta
This article is the second in a series about the role of your school board and the trustees who serve the Livingstone Range community.
The Role of the Trustee
After trustee candidates successfully navigate local elections and become representatives of their respective wards, they take an oath of office and file a disclosure statement that guides the board in avoiding situations of conflict of interest while fulfilling the duties of their four-year term. The board elects a chair and vice-chair, and members set a calendar for regular meetings. Trustees are required to attend all meetings unless given permission by the board to miss. Trustees can participate in meetings electronically, as long as all participants can hear each other throughout the meeting.
Trustees are part of a governing body, and are required to act in the best interests of the board, the division and students, as opposed to acting in their own personal interest or on behalf of any other group or organization. They must act responsibly with regard to the finances and assets of the board/division, maintain confidentiality where required, and avoid conflicts of interest.
Livingstone Range School Division is divided into three wards, with two or more trustees representing each area. Trustees are elected by voters in their own ward.
Livingstone Range Trustee Biographies
Ward 1 - Nanton, Stavely, Claresholm and 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 and Lundbreck
Greg Long (New Member)
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 and Pincher Creek
Jim Burdett (New Member)
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.
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 Member)
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 commit 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.
Our next article, “The Business of the Board”, will explore the role of the Chair of the Board of Trustees and discuss areas of emphasis and committees on which each of the trustees serves.