All former trustees in SD76 vying for seats again
All Medicine Hat Public School Division No. 76 incumbent trustees confirmed this week they will be running in the school board election on Oct. 16.
In mid-August, SD76 board chair Rick Massini told the News some of his reasons for wanting to run again.
“We’ve come to a very good spot in education in Medicine Hat,” he said. “I would just like to continue the work we started. ‘Children first’ is a motto I have used for a long time in my career in education. I want to make sure children have a safe, caring place to go to school.”
Long-time trustee, and former board chair, Terry Riley said he is running again in the October election — despite suffering deep personal loss with the passing of his wife earlier this summer — because he can’t stand the thought of certain special interest groups coming into the election to hijack the board’s agenda.
“I am kind of worried about the potential damage certain groups could cause our school district by some of the actions they propose to take,” said Riley. “I fear people who try to distract us from our primary goal of educating kids, and that should be what our only goal is: To make sure every kid who comes to our schools gets a chance at a quality education ... We have put in place policies to protect kids, and we think it is vital those policies remain,” added Riley, referring to the board’s Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Policy 622.
SD76 board vice-chair Catherine WilsonFraser said she proudly stands by her record of the past five years as she seeks re-election in October. The local business owner has children still in the school system, and says this informs her perspective very strongly when she sits at the boardroom table with other trustees.
“We are all about the kids in our district,” said Fraser. “Our job is to find the best programs and be there for the kids to ensure they are going to be great leaders of tomorrow ... We have two brand new schools. We have Hat High, which has just been modernized. We have worked very hard at creating safe, caring and welcoming environments. And, in particular, I am proud of Policy 622, which I think we have worked hard to come to agreements on all ends to make it a workable policy so we can be open to both our parents and our kids.”
Educator Deborah Forbes was first elected to the SD76 board in 1993. She said her 20 years of experience on the board is an asset, and her passion for quality education continues to drive her as a trustee. “Each of us on the board has a focus on exactly what we should be doing, which is helping our 7,200 students to learn,” said Forbes. “I want to say to the voters I will bring my experience working with many different governments and many different ministers of education. We are moving into a new historical context with teaching and learning. I want to continue to put my energies into the miracle of public education.”
First-term trustee Carolyn Freeman says she is excited to run again in the upcoming board elections. She feels she has learned a lot during the past four years, and wants to continue to work with her fellow board members to ensure all SD76 students have what they need to achieve a quality education and start their lives out on a good foot.
“As a trustee, you want to continue to use what you have learned and build on that experience,” explained Freeman. “There have been some very rewarding and wonderful conver- sations we have had over the last four years. And there are some more yet to come. I think I have something to offer, and a different, and valuable, point of view. I love to listen and I love to learn.”