CCSTA is pleased to welcome Jerome Niezgoda as its Saskatchewan Director.
With a background in farming, property management and as a parent to four daughters and a Catholic education trustee, Mr. Niezgoda brings much experience and skill to the CCSTA table.
Mr. Niezgoda truly is a Saskatchewinian at heart.
Born and raised on a mixed grain farm, he became actively involved with his grandfather and father on the family farm. He also invested in beef cattle as well as expanded the grain enterprise.
“I thought I would farm my whole life,” he explains.
But with its economic challenges, farming had to take a backseat to another full-time job. Mr. Niezgoda and his wife thus became resident managers in a senior social housing apartment in 1984. Two years later, he accepted the Housing Authority Manager position with the Town of Kindersley.
“Last year I celebrated 25 years of full time service in the housing network and also the achievement of my Certified Property Manager designation with the Real Estate Institute of Canada,” he says. “I currently work with the Living Skies Housing Authority as an area manager.”
Becoming a Trustee
When Mr. Niezgoda was first approached about becoming a Catholic education school trustee, he reacted with surprise.
“I did not seek out the privilege of serving as a Catholic School trustee,” he explains. “In 1997, two parishioners and trustees of the Yorkton Catholic School Board invited me to consider running as a trustee in the upcoming election.”
His full-time property management job along with farming and raising four daughters ranging from four to 13 years of age, his agenda was already too full. Mr. Niezgoda declined the opportunity to run for the trustee position.
But persistence paid off. Three years later, these same two ladies asked him to consider running as a trustee.
“I felt that if these two ladies asked me a second time, they must see some reason why I should be involved,” he says. “Upon reflection of the invitation to trusteeship, I recognized it was time to consider service beyond my parish involvement. Having four daughters in the system I realized that serving as a trustee in a Catholic school division would be relevant and interesting. I agreed to run and my journey began!”
Now, 12 years later, Mr. Niezgoda looks forward to working at another level within the Catholic education community – representing Saskatchewan with CCSTA.
Working with CCSTA
Wanting to continue the positive relationship between the CCSTA and the Saskatchewan Catholic School Boards Association (SCSBA), Mr. Niezgoda will work to ensure he effectively communicates with all parties he represents.
“I hope to keep CCSTA informed as to the priorities, challenges and successes within his province and will support CCSTA initiatives and work at the table,” he explains. “I will also keep the SCSBA and our member boards informed to encourage broad support.”
He says he also hopes to help explore opportunities for new partnerships relevant to the sustainability of the work of CCSTA.
When it comes to Catholic education in Canada, from Saskatchewan’s perspective, Mr. Niezgoda says it’s important to keep our distinct Catholic identity at the forefront.
“Promoting, preserving and protecting Catholic education both nationally and provincially is essential,” he says. “We must also maintain relationships and dialogue with our partners in Catholic education within as well as among our provinces.”
He says we must also monitor the challenges to Catholic education including those portrayed within the media, political and legal industries.
“We should discern appropriate response to such challenges and making fully informed, reasoned decisions.”
He adds that CCSTA and the entire Catholic education community must celebrate and share the many blessings in Catholic education, adding that he feels blessed to become a part of CCSTA’s Board of Directors.
“I look forward to the privilege of working with Catholic education leaders from across the nation,” he says.