Last Updated: Wednesday - 01/05/2011
October 22, 2001
Four new faces on Edmonton board
Women outnumber men among school trustees
WESTERN CATHOLIC REPORTER
EDMONTON — Four active parents, four women, four businesspeople and four new faces will dominate the new seven-member Edmonton Catholic school board.
Only two former educators prevailed in the race while women outnumbered men to make up the seven-member board in the Oct. 15 vote.
Janice Sarich (Ward 2), Mark Razzolini (Ward 3), Debbie Cavaliere (Ward 4) and Charles Koester (Ward 6) are the new faces joining the board. Three members were re-elected - Debbie Engel (Ward 1), Judy Buddle (Ward 5) and Ron Zapisocki (at-large).
In the past, more retired educators had been elected to the board.
Razzolini, a 33-year-old human resources adviser at Alberta Blue Cross, pulled an upset in Ward 3 and out-polled incumbent Jim Shinkaruk, who was seeking a fourth term.
Razzolini thinks "the voters are ready for a change, with new ideas on the board and younger people representing the younger generation," who support Catholic education.
"I think the board has to set a Christian attitude right from the top and we should treat our employees and students well," said Razzolini.
Another upset occurred in Ward 2 as Sarich, 43, defeated two former principals, both of whom had served on the board previously.
Ward 2 incumbent Ron Zapisocki lost to Sarich but was elected as the trustee-at-large, having garnered the highest number of votes among second place candidates across the city.
Sarich took more than 40 per cent of the votes in her ward while Zapisocki received more than 34 per cent and the remaining 25 went to Jim Urlacher.
In her door-to-door campaign, Sarich heard that the "issue of not having another high school option in north Edmonton" is a major concern.
The only high school in north Edmonton is Archbishop O'Leary High. This makes overcrowding inevitable.
"Especially in the well-established areas of north Edmonton, people could not understand why there wasn't a prioritization of that need in terms of a high school option," Sarich said.
The need for another junior high, special needs children falling through the cracks, and inconsistencies in funding were other issues Sarich discovered in her campaign.
"Focus on the rudiments of education - reading, writing, math, science - is very important for the people and for them technology comes second," said Sarich, a small business owner.
Engel, former chairperson of the board, garnered more than 76 per cent of votes in Ward 1 defeating challenger Richard McNally.
She is convinced there will be "some difference" on the board while she also appreciated the expertise of those who have returned to the board.
"I am so pleased that Ron (Zapisocki) is back," Engel said. "I learned so much from him, and I believe his presence on the board will bring continuity and expertise that we need."
Engel told the WCR she is willing to chair the board again.
It is an unwritten rule of the board that the chair is rotated among the trustees.
Cavaliere, a litigation paralegal, defeated Joe Filewych, a retired principal who was seeking a first term in Ward 4.
"I am looking forward to serving and I hope that I will have a positive impact on the Catholic school community," Cavaliere told the WCR.
She said she is willing "to listen to people carefully, and visit schools to have a thorough knowledge of how they operate."
Incumbent Judy Buddle, a former teacher, was acclaimed in Ward 5 while businessman Charles Koester was acclaimed in Ward 6.
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