The first-ever New Trustee Orientation Session should help ensure Westwind school trustees are all on the same game-plan as well.
Three of the four trustee-elects were able to get a head start on their first term at the orientation session, with Patricia Beazer (Division 2) out of town and unavailable due to a prior commitment.
Ron Fromm, the incumbent Chairman, told Barbara Salmon (Division 1), Denise Norton (Division 2) and Tracy Selk (Division 6) he wished such an introductory session had been available when he first took office 21 years ago. He recalled feeling somewhat intimidated by the whole process and all the issues he had to get up to speed on.
A send-off was held for those trustees whose service to the Board just recently ended. More than one, said Fromm, recalled asking themselves what they had gotten themselves into during those first few weeks of office.
“We’re hoping you don’t feel that way,” he said. “Nobody will ever know you’re brand new.”The newly elected trustees got an education in such areas as the roles and responsibilities of trustees, remuneration, meeting protocol and professional and technical support available.
The hope, said Fromm, is that the new trustees will come to the first board meeting Nov. 5 feeling prepared and ready to get to work. That, in turn, will help the entire Board maintain the momentum it has built up.Senior administration also provided a briefing on the budget process and Westwind School Division’s Strategic Plan, a document which is still a work in progress.
Superintendent Ken Sommerfeldt explained those guiding principles will help set the direction Westwind is headed as they keep in mind the visions presented by Alberta Education through the Inspiring Education document.
Deputy Superintendent John Waterhouse said what trustees should always ask themselves, whenever they are making a decision, is whether it is truly in the children’s best interest.
He pointed out while trustees are elected by constituents within their own Division, once on the Board their responsibility is to all 4,000 students.
“You have to make the best decision for the largest group possible,” said Waterhouse.At that next meeting all the trustees will be sworn in – for a four-year term this time, instead of the usual three – and a chairman will be elected.
Trustees will also be assigned to the various working committees that come under the Board.
Joining Beazer, Norton, Salmon and Selk will be incumbents Peter Scott (Division 3), Lance Miller (Division 4), Fromm and Stephen Heggie (Division 5) and Anna-Joyce Frank (Division 7).
For more information on happenings within the Westwind School Division, go to http://www.westwind.ab.ca.