Seven new candidates have announced they are running for the Red Deer Public school board in the fall election, raising the total to 16.
Nicole Buchanan (the incumbent chair), Nathan Davies, Kari Elliott, Paul Peters, Angela Sommers, Reg Warkentin and Jim Watters are the latest candidates to enter the public school trustee race.
Buchanan has worked in policing and has children in the Red Deer Public School district. As well as serving on the local board of trustees since 2017, she was also elected director with the Public School Boards Association of Alberta for the last three years.
Buchanan wants to keep advocating for diverse student needs. She believes in the right of students, staff and family to express opinions without discrimination. And Buchanan wants to more focus on mental health and wellness so that all students can meet their potential.
Davies, a small business owner, believes that public education is the best way to provide equality of opportunity for all children. With kids in the district, he is a member of a school council and a school fundraising association.
As a former board member of the Red Deer Childcare Society, Davies wants to provide kids with the tools to succeed in whatever they choose to do after graduation, whether entering the workforce, going to trade school or university.
“I will do my part to ensure that students are receiving the most relevant, up-to-date, and inclusive education as possible… a well thought out curriculum is essential.”
Elliott is a former scholarship athlete who’s now head coach of the Red Deer Polytechnic Kings and Queens track program.
She intends to be an advocate for a variety of sports to be offered as part of the school experience, and for girls to continue to participate in athletics. “Competitive sport isn’t for every student; physical activity should be. Seeing clear links between activity and mental health; I will advocate for ways to engage all students in physical activity, in support of their overall success,” Elliott said.
Peters, an entrepreneur, is a member of the Central Alberta Skateboard Association and Piper Creek Optimists. With two children in the public district, he wants strong leadership in schools, “a clear vision for the future of education,” and to bring schools closer to their surrounding communities.
Peters opposes proposed changes to Alberta’s elementary school curriculum, calling them “a step back in the progress we have made.”
He feels he can help make effective budgetary decisions in light of “dwindling resources.” Peters wants to engage service groups and others to help enhance student success.
Sommers is a local business owner with three children in the district. She volunteers with school parent councils, breakfast clubs, and local boards. She describes herself as a leader, collaborator, independent thinker and team player.
Sommers wants to focus on helping students make up for the learning lost during COVID uncertainty. She will advocate for a non-partisan school curriculum with achieve-able local solutions to climate change. Sommers also wants to explore group purchasing, centralized fundraising, and getting more funds for technology, mental health and disabilities.
Warkentin, a policy, advocacy and government relations manager for the Red Deer Chamber, has two children in the public district and another on the way. He wants a focus on ensuring students have the reading, writing, math, resiliency, and critical thinking skills to become successful adults.
Warkentin favours impartial broad-based education. “Children should not be taught what to think – they should be taught how to think,” he said.
Watters last served as a Red Deer Public Schools trustee in 2017, and has also volunteered with school councils and the Golden Circle. He wants a seat on the school board to support his seven grandchildren and others in “the new generation of learners.”
Watters believes in open communication, teamwork and meeting students’ diverse needs through smaller classes, educational and learning assistants.
Also running for the Red Deer Public school Board are: Matt Chapin, Matt Gould, Terri Grills, Dianne Macaulay (incumbent) , Bev Manning (incumbent), Meagan Parisian, Cathy Peacocke (incumbent), Mark Swarek, and Jaelene Tweedle.
The election is on Oct. 18.