Following last month’s provincial election in Alberta, CCSTA President Ted Paszek and Board of Director Alberta Representative Tony Sykora were re-elected to represent their local jurisdiction and ultimately remain in their positions with CCSTA.
CCSTA checked in with both Sykora and Paszek to get their perspective on the election, campaign promises and what it means to continue their work in Catholic education both at the provincial and national level.
How did you feel once you learned you were re-elected?
Sykora: I felt a sense of relief as I have a passion for doing this kind of work on behalf of the community and realize that every politician, sooner or later, has a best before date. It didn’t take very long for me to recognize what the next four years of the term would entail and the work that is needed to ensure publicly funded Catholic Education remains a viable choice for parents long into the future in this province.
Paszek: I was delighted to continue my life-long mission in Catholic education by being re-elected trustee for the Elk Island Catholic Schools. Election campaigns are stressful, exciting and engaging. As challenging as it was, I am grateful that our trustee election was contested because it was an opportunity to bring Catholic education to public attention. As you can imagine, there was excitement and anticipation waiting for the results. After working so hard with family and friends, it is in the hands of the electorate and God’s will as to what the final outcome will be. There were many good wishes from friends and family from across the country because they knew of my desire to complete my term as president of CCSTA as well as serving my local Catholic community.
Did you provide any promises in your campaign? If so, how do you hope to fulfill those goals this term?
Sykora: The only promises I made to our electors was to participate in the decision-making process with the greater mission of Catholic Education in mind, promote the meaningful consultation of parents and other stakeholders to assist in high level decision making and do my very best to ensure that resources are used wisely.
Paszek: Our Catholic schools provide an excellent education but even more importantly, we provide Gospel values based education that helps develop the whole child, academically, physically, socially and spiritually. I want to continue to work to remind our own community as well as the larger community of the importance of Catholic education. Our staff is the most important resource we have in creating the best learning conditions for our students. I will continue to support the hiring of the best staff possible and that faith development and professional development opportunities continue to be a priority.
I believe that small class sizes enable teachers to build strong relationship with students. We know that learners are motivated to learn in caring environments with more one-on-one interaction with teachers. I will continue to work for sufficient funding to further reduce class sizes.
Catholic parents and the Catholic community are our partners. It is especially important that the faith community become more engaged with the schools. I will be working on strategies to make this happen.
How does sitting on the CCSTA Executive help you in your job as a trustee?
Sykora: My participation on the CCSTA Board of Directors has provided a national perspective for me. The very existence of Catholic Education transcends local conditions and is successfully delivered in very differing local conditions. I have also come to the conclusion that the issues and challenges of providing Catholic Education are very similar from coast to coast to coast.
Paszek: My engagement with CCSTA has broadened my perspective and allowed me to appreciate the importance of Catholic education to Canadian society. I know that understanding the stories from across Canada help me in my local work. There is comfort knowing that we are not alone in our work and that we can learn from one another. We know that there is strength in unity of purpose and we know that whatever happens in Catholic education anywhere in Canada has impact on all of us.