Ted Paszek is passionate about Catholic education and his recent election to the president’s chair is an extension of his life-long commitment to furthering faith-based learning in Canada.
“I have devoted most of my life to Catholic education and I believe that a values-based education and a faith life helps develop a well-rounded human being,” Paszek said.
Growing up in a Catholic family that was involved in the faith life and parish activities, Paszek said he was a student at Catholic schools in Alberta.
“I have to admit that I took Catholic education for granted because that was the way it was,” he said. “It never occurred to me as a youth what a precious gift my Catholic education was.”
He soon discovered the other side of the spectrum after earning his teaching degree and taking on work with the Edmonton Catholic school system. After attending theological college and earning a degree in religious education, Paszek said his appreciation for faith life was strengthened. Over the years, Paszek became a leader in Catholic education, serving as religion department head at the secondary school level, staff development consultant and as an elementary school principal.
He is also no stranger to the activities of a Catholic school board trustee, as he went on to perform such duties for more than 27 years. In addition, Paszek has a long list of positions to his name on the Alberta Catholic School Trustees’ Association, including director, vice president and president. Before being elected president of CCSTA, Paszek served for three years as a director on the board, then as vice president for two years and now holds the president’s position.
Paszek firmly believes that because Catholic education is such an important part of the fabric of Canadian society, there is an obligation to protect and promote what we have – regardless of funding parameters. “In all areas of Canada, it is important that we share our stories and support one another,” he said. “I hope to continue the sharing of our stories across this country because more than ever, communicating the importance of faith-based education for a substantial segment of society benefits all society,” he said.
Looking ahead, Paszek aims to build on the successes of past national conversations about Catholic education, during the Ottawa event next October. He said he also plans to continue building relationships with bishops, politicians and others as he believed relationships are a key element of understanding. “Personal contact and friendship go a long way to building bridges among groups that misunderstand each other,” he said. “I will continue supporting the initiatives in education, advocacy and communication.”
Furthermore, Paszek said CCSTA should continue to emphasize the positive force of a values-based education that works to enhance the common good. “Catholic education has been a powerful force in the history of Canada and we will not shy away from declaring what we believe is good for the children in our schools and what is good for our Canadian democracy,” he said.
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