Last Updated: Wednesday - 01/05/2011
November 26, 2001
Spirit River trustee new ACSTA president
SPECIAL TO THE WCR
EDMONTON — After serving an unprecedented fifth straight term as president of the province's Catholic school trustees, Lois Burke-Gaffney announced her intention not to seek re-election at the annual general meeting of the Alberta Catholic School Trustees' Association.
"I made a promise to you last year that I would see Bill 16 through to completion and I have done that" she told delegates to the meeting. Bill 16, the School Amendment Act, was passed in the legislature on Nov. 14, two days earlier.
Burke-Gaffney was first elected as a trustee in Calgary in 1992 and has served as ACSTA president since 1996.
She thanked trustees for their support, particularly over the past year of intense negotiation over Bill 16.
John Krol, ACSTA vice president for the past year, defeated Edmonton trustee Debbie Engel for the presidency.
Krol, a trustee since 1989, represents Spirit River on the Grande Prairie board, and has chaired that board for four years.
He told delegates his priorities for the year ahead would be to defend the rights of Catholics, challenge Catholics to be stronger supporters of the separate school system, and continue to communicate with all stakeholders while assisting member boards through the boundary expansion process.
While he admits ACSTA will be busy in the weeks ahead dealing with the regulations around the new School Act, he adds the directors will take time in early December for a retreat.
Marilyn Welsch, a trustee from the Holy Spirit board in southern Alberta, was elected vice president over Elaine Halter of Red Deer. A resident of Pincher Creek, Welsch has been a trustee for the past five years and is currently chair of the Holy Spirit board.
Welsch says her upbringing in British Columbia, where her parents paid tuition for their children's Catholic education, taught her the value of Catholic schooling.
When her own children began school in Alberta, she also experienced the frustration of being a disenfranchised Catholic, because for a time there were not enough Catholics in the 4x4 district she lived in to form a separate school district.
Although the ACSTA's efforts over the past year have been rewarded in terms of the new School Act, Welsch does not see the year ahead as a time to rest on that success.
"Catholic educators have to be vigilant. I know that Bill 16 has been passed but that isn't the end of it - we need to work with the minister and make sure the regulations are written."
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