Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 22, 1999
Superintendent steps down
Fortin happy with growth of Catholic faith community
By LELLA BLUMER
Special to the WCR
Terry Fortin will step down as superintendent of Edmonton Catholic Schools after five years of administrative restructuring and financial restraint.
Fortin, 54, announced at the board's March 15 public meeting that he will not seek an extension to his current contract, which expires Aug. 1.
"This is an appropriate time for me to re-evaluate my role," he said. "Although I believe that I could continue to make a significant contribution to our school division, I sense a call to pursue other options in the area of education."
He will stay on in the position until a new superintendent is hired.
Fortin said he has been considering his decision for about a year. "It's a good time to end this phase, and look for change both personally and as a district."
Fortin was appointed superintendent in 1994, shortly after massive changes to education were announced by the provincial government.
The district faced a major reduction in its administrative budget, a shift to school-based management, and a focus on greater involvement from parents through restructured school councils.
The cuts to administration posed many challenges, Fortin says, and those challenges remain, despite the government's recent increase in education spending.
"The challenge still before us is to provide the best equitable education throughout our 84 schools."
Fortin says one important accomplishment has been the district's annual faith development day for staff.
"The feeling of togetherness of some 3,000 people, who care deeply for their students and for their own faith, was breathtaking," he says, adding that parents have "tremendous trust and expectations which must be met."
"The reason parents register their children in Catholic schools is for the faith dimension, and the challenge is to ensure that is actualized."
Other significant developments in the past five years include the district's regionalization with Vegreville in 1997.
Partnerships have been formed with community groups, business and industry, and program options for students expanded through the restructuring of St. Joseph's High School, the fourth-year high school High Time, and the Success by Six early intervention program.
The district also implemented a system-wide technology plan and has received a number of awards for technological innovations.
Born in Edmonton, Fortin has been involved in education for 33 years. He taught at various schools throughout Alberta, as well as at the University of Saskatchewan, and served as director of education for Prince Albert Catholic Schools before coming to Edmonton in 1994.
Board chair Ron Zapisocki says over the past five years Fortin has instilled a sense of Catholic community throughout the district.
"What Terry Fortin has brought to the whole division is a keen sense of responsibility for Catholic education."
In his letter to the board, Fortin expressed his appreciation to trustees over the past five years for the opportunity to serve and lead the district.
"Together we have provided Catholic education which inspires its students to learn, to work, to live life fully and to serve God in one another.
Fortin says he will carrry with him memories of "the wonderful people I've worked with here - being able to learn from them, being able to be trusted by them, and being able to serve."