RED DEER — The Red Deer Catholic board of trustees has appointed a seasoned school administrator and former classroom teacher as the division's new superintendent.
Paul Mason, 48, took over as superintendent Aug. 27. He replaces Paulette Hanna, who is retiring after four years in the position.
Mason has been in education for more than 20 years, including seven years as a classroom teacher and 13 to 14 years as an administrator at various levels, both at the school level and in central office.
He has been with Red Deer Catholic for the past four-and-a-half years and was the associate superintendent responsible for human resources at the time of his appointment. Previous to this he was director of instruction for the Wetaskiwin Regional Public School Division and principal of Pigeon Lake Regional School, a Grade 7-12 school.
"I'm very excited and feel so fortunate for the opportunity to contribute to the important work of meeting the needs of students in Central Alberta," he said.
"My plans are to maintain and enhance the culture and tradition of success, looking to continue with our faith-related activities and increasing our Christian growth here in our school division."
Mason is also planning "to explore ways to increase student and community engagement."
Asked about Red Deer Catholic's tradition of success, the new superintendent said, "Our students continually rank among the best in the province; the accomplishments of our social justice projects are off the charts; our relationships with our local parishes and the permeation of faith amongst our students and staff is incredible; and our commitment to creating student-centred schools and communities leaves much to be proud of."
Red Deer Catholic serves more than 6,800 students in Red Deer, Sylvan Lake, Rocky Mountain House, Innisfail and Olds.
Board chairperson Adriana La Grange says Red Deer Catholic is fortunate to have Mason as its new superintendent.
"He has an in-depth understanding of our school division and a desire to build on the great foundation set by previous superintendents. He has a passion for our students and learning excellence."
Born and raised in Port Alberni, B.C., Mason received his bachelor of education degree at the University of Saskatchewan, his master's degree at San Diego University and is currently working on his doctorate at the University of Calgary.
He started his teaching career in 1991 in Valleyview.
Mason and his wife Crystal, a teacher at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic School in Red Deer, have two young children in the Catholic school system: daughter Breagh, 9, and son Ben, 7.
"I'm eager to watch them grow in their faith and their academic successes," said the new superintendent.
The Masons are members of St. Mary's Parish and attend the 9 a.m. Sunday Mass regularly. They are both proclaimers of the word and help with children's liturgy at the parish.
Mason is also an avid reader and a fitness enthusiast who runs competitively "just to keep a balance in life and stay fresh."