In a secret ballot Ken Checkel received more votes than Yvette Cassidy and was re-elected as Chair of the Clearview School Division at its organizational meeting on October 30, 2013. Newly elected trustee Dave Goodwin was named Vice-Chair by acclamation. The Chair and Vice-Chair positions are appointed for a one-year term.
“Many strengths,” Checkel comments
In seeking support, Checkel acknowledged that the Board had a difficult couple of years and had been pulling apart rather than pulling together. He felt his relationships with staff, parents, communities, teachers and trustees, as well as his commitment to work with people, schools and administration were important attributes moving forward.
“The chair is just one of the seven trustees and does not have a monopoly on good ideas,” said Checkel. “Everyone is encouraged to bring new ideas to the table”.
In a subsequent telephone conversation Checkel said when ideas are brought to the table by individual trustees, they need to convince the majority of their colleagues and ideally all of their colleagues the value of that idea. A strong show of support actually gets things accomplished.
“I’m optimistic about working with this Board,” said Checkel. “We have many strengths. When attitudes are positive and we’re pulling together, our communication to our public will also be better.”
“More openness,” Cassidy comments
As a strong proponent of transparency and accountability, Cassidy offered leadership that would see fewer debates away from public oversight.
“Every time we go behind closed doors or have long phone calls before Board meetings, we are restricting our public from hearing the debate and providing feedback.”
During a subsequent interview, Cassidy acknowledged she had become disillusioned over the way the Board had handled the decision on the Stettler Schools consolidation pilot project. From her perspective, it was the most important decision the Board had made in years. To have it debated and decided behind closed doors and then dropped on the public was unacceptable for her point of view, and resulted in a lot of unnecessary negative fallout.
“My parents are smart and involved. They’re on the internet and they challenge me constantly and that is a good thing,” said Cassidy. She is excited to once again represent the students in her ward and to work with Ken Checkel and the rest of the Board. She will continue to work towards changing the culture to more openness by encouraging Board members to do more debate in front of the public and less business in-camera and behind closed doors.
Trustees taking the oath of office were Yvette Cassidy, Ken Checkel, Karen Holloway, Cheri Neitz, John Schofer, Staci Gerlitz and Dave Goodwin.
Trustee liaisons for school councils were named as follows:
Big Valley – Yvette Cassidy, John Schofer (alternate)
Botha – John Schofer, Cheri Neitz (alternate)
Brownfield and Coronation – Ken Checkel, Karen Holloway (alternate)
Byemoor – John Schofer, Karen Holloway (alternate)
Donalda and Erskine – Cheri Neitz, Yvette Cassidy (alternate)
Gus Wetter – Karen Holloway, Ken Checkel (alternate)
Stettler schools – Staci Gerlitz, Dave Goodwin; alternates are Cheri Neitz, John Schofer and Yvette Cassidy
Liaisons for colony schools will be the trustee who represents the ward where the colony is located. Staci Gerlitz and Dave Goodwin are alternates to colony schools located geographically near Stettler.
The Board designated Eileen Johnstone as Acting Superintendent on an as needed basis, until the Organizational Meeting of 2014-2015.
In respect of the teachers and support staff who received no remuneration increases, there was unanimous consensus among the trustees that they also leave their remuneration schedule unchanged. Associate Superintendent, Peter Neale, advised the Board that they have some of the lowest per diems in the province.
The remainder of the meeting was spent appointing Trustees to various committees. Those appointments can be found on the Clearview School District website at www.clearview.ab.ca