Cecelia, Champagne, Gerein, Hoople, Schell, Shaw, Pequin, want your vote

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Seven more candidates made their case this week to get your vote for school trustee.

Meanwhile, a Sturgeon County man has waltzed onto the Sturgeon School Division board unopposed.

Brigitte Cecelia, Jodi-Lynn Champagne, Austin Gerein, Marcus Hoople, Greg Schell, Lynn Shaw and Janine Pequin are running for trustee in this fall’s Greater St. Albert Catholic, St. Albert Public and Sturgeon Public School board elections.

On Thursday, Sturgeon Public School Division returning officer Iva Paulik declared that Sturgeon County’s Shane Sherwin had been acclaimed as the new trustee for Sturgeon Valley/West St. Albert.

A retired Atco pipeline technologist, Sherwin said residents had asked his wife, Joyce, to run for this position, but that she declined due to her ongoing work with the Alberta Teachers’ Association. He had the time, so he volunteered in her place.

“It’ll be a learning curve for me,” said Sherwin, but Joyce would help him significantly.

“She knows a lot of the people and the processes and policies.”

Sherwin said he had put two children through the Sturgeon Public School system and has lived in Upper Manor Estates for 25 years.

Catholic contenders

Cecelia, Gerein, and Schell are running against incumbents Joe Becigneul, Joan Crockett and Serena Shaw for the four seats in the St. Albert Catholic ward.

Cecelia is a member of the parish pastoral council at St. Joseph’s Basilica in Edmonton and a wine vendor at a St. Albert liquor store. She placed fourth in the 2016 GSACRD board by-election.

Describing herself as a pro-life advocate “from conception to natural death,” Cecelia said she was running due to her sense of dedication to the Church.

“The Catholic agenda in education is to prepare students to serve and recognize God,” she said, and the school system should reflect Catholic beliefs.

Cecelia said the current curriculum was heavily based on the 1950s-1960s conception of “love,” which differed from the Catholic definition.

“Our love is clearly defined. It is not an emotional one. It’s a will. Love is an act of the will.”

When asked how she would change the curriculum, Cecelia said she would want social studies to be more about “history” than “social engineering.” In her official online profile, she calls the provincial government “the Biggest Bully in Our Catholic Schools.”

Gerein said he had two grandkids in St. Albert Catholic schools and had lived in St. Albert for about six years. Prior to that, he spent 41 years in Alberta, Canada and Australia as a public and Catholic school teacher, principal and superintendent, and got degrees and diplomas in education, special education, and education administration.

“I’ve taught everything from Kindergarten to Grade 12,” he said, and he hoped to use that experience to improve education in St. Albert.

“I’m very pleased with the education my grandchildren are getting and I want to see that maintained.”

Gerein is an active member of the St. Albert Knights of Columbus, a lector at Holy Family Parish and a volunteer driver for the Canadian Cancer Society.

Schell is a property assessor with a son in the St. Albert Catholic school system. He placed third in the 2016 by-election. A Knights of Columbus member and former researcher for the Progressive Conservatives in the 1990s, he has a master’s in business administration.

“Children don’t come one size fits all,” he said, and neither should our school system.

Schell said he would work to promote parental choice by working with the province to maintain Catholic education and other programs such as sports academies and French immersion. He would use his background in banking and business to seek efficiencies in the district, freeing up more cash for classrooms, and lobby the province for more reliable funding.

Champagne is running against incumbent Cathy Proulx in the Legal ward. A school-bus driver and former day-home operator, she has three kids in Greater St. Albert Catholic. If elected, she said she would work to bring more option courses to Legal School, especially swimming lessons, and find ways to encourage students to stick with GSACRD instead of going to Morinville Public School.

Public profiles

Shaw and Pequin are competing for the vacant Sturgeon Public School board seat in Redwater/Coronado.

Shaw said she was an unemployed procurement specialist who lives near Redwater and a parent chaperone for the Gibbons Travel Club at Gibbons School. She had also done administrative work for Sturgeon Public School Division.

She had no specific policies she wanted to pursue if elected, but said, “I want to improve the classroom conditions for students.”

Pequin is the outgoing chair of the Ochre Park School parent society and parent of two Sturgeon School students. She is also a waitress at the Rainbow Restaurant in Redwater.

“I want to make sure my kids are getting the best possible education they can get,” she said, and there’s no better way to decide what they’ll learn than to be a part of the school system.

Hoople is a visual merchandiser running for the St. Albert Public board. A member of the Wild Rose Elementary parent council and Edmonton’s Holy Spirit Lutheran parish council, he said he’s running to ensure his two kids get a good education. He believes in student-centred learning and developing global citizens, and supports gay-straight alliances.

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About Author

Kevin Ma

Kevin Ma joined the St. Albert Gazette in 2006. He writes about Sturgeon County, education, the environment, agriculture, science and aboriginal affairs. He also contributes features, photographs and video.