When he lived in Yorkton, Saskatchewan in the mid-1990s, Tom Fortosky started to search for a way to give back to his community.
After much reflection, he came to a realization: he has a passion for education. As a child, he attended Catholic schools and two of his children were attending Catholic school in Yorkton at the time. He then applied his appreciation for Catholic education by becoming a Catholic school trustee.
“I firmly believe in the value of a Catholic education and felt I could make a difference as a trustee,” he says. In 1997, he was elected as a Catholic trustee in Yorkton until he moved back home to Saskatoon in 1999. “My passion for Catholic education was reignited after a brief hiatus and I ran for the Saskatoon Catholic School Board in 2003 and was again elected as Trustee,” he explains.
For the past 10 years, Fortosky, a lawyer by day, has dedicated his time to bring that passion to the table and ensure educators have the opportunity to cultivate their faith.
“I believe it is our responsibility to provide a truly Catholic education experience to the students and that the parents entrust to our care,” he says, adding this can only be accomplished by having a staff team committed to the faith themselves. “This means that we need to give our staff every opportunity to develop their faith in order to be the example of Jesus Christ in our schools. We need to be leaders in continuous improvement in education and to find ways to efficiently manage the resources for which we are stewards.”
He says this leadership will help demonstrate to government why it’s important to continue to support Catholic schools across Saskatchewan.
“We need to provide a meaningful choice for parents and a difficult choice for any government which may be considering the end of Catholic education,” he explains. “It is important to remember that it is the good work that our Catholic schools do which provides the greatest argument for supporting Catholic education.”
He adds that if we truly believe in inclusivity we must be open to allowing non-Catholic students to attend Catholic schools. “This is our opportunity to engage in the evangelization our missionary Church requires.”
This past fall, Fortosky was elected as the CCSTA Saskatchewan Director. He hopes to continue this message on a national scope by collaborating with colleagues from across the country.
“I hope to contribute and share the Saskatchewan experience with my new colleagues on the CCSTA Board of Directors,” he says. “With our shared experiences, I know that together we can meet the challenges facing Catholic education in Canada. We need to take inspiration from Pope Francis and renew a missionary zeal for Catholic education. That would truly be an accomplishment.”