ATHABASCA — When you’re in an elected position there’s a lot of bridges to build and relationships to maintain with various other government sectors on all levels.
For Anne Karczmarczyk, she’s worked diligently the past seven years as a school board trustee on the Aspen View Public Schools board to network with the municipal, provincial and parent stakeholders, and hopes to continue to do so if she is once again elected to serve in the October elections.
“I have been in attendance at all of the municipal partner meetings that we've had with Athabasca County and the Town of Athabasca and that's a really important relationship that was started during our last term,” she said. “ I think it's very, very important for those relationships to be maintained. That continued communication is for our school families who are part of the county and the town and the growing needs of our division.”
Karczmarczyk has also been very active behind the scenes sitting both on internal and provincial committees, also building the relationships needed to benefit the division.
“I've had the opportunity to sit on the various committees on our board; they range from policy, transportation, advocacy, and, of course, the member boards with the Alberta School Boards Association and Public School Boards Association,” she said. “You have the opportunity to sit on those to be aligned with what's happening in a smaller focus, rather than a broad overview of what's happening. I've been extremely proud to be on those.”
She knows she’s just one of seven trustees on the board and has learned that any personal agenda may not come to fruition, in fact you need to look at the bigger picture instead of just the schools you represent. And on an even larger scale with government.
“In the last seven years we've had the opportunity to work with two different governments and being able to work well with those governments for the betterment of our school,” Karczmarczyk said. “And maintaining those relationships while advocating, I think, is important. You can step up and say you don't agree with something, but at the end of the day, working well with the government that you have will only benefit us.”
Karczmarczyk also has a vested interest in the sustainability of both the public education system and the longevity of Athabasca and region as both her children have been through all three schools and her husband is a local business owner.
“Real sustainability has always been extremely important to myself, being part of this community,” she said. “I just think it's a vital relationship the Aspen View Public Schools board has, and I feel very proud to be part of that. You can never really say the work is done; there’s always new things coming.
She praises all the staff and administration for the quick response to the ever-changing COVID precautions and remaining flexible.
“The COVID response came at us fast and furious, but with the division staff, maintenance, teachers, administrators, everyone was able to pivot quite quickly,” Karczmarczyk said.
And as the pandemic continues, there’s hope for some normalcy while students prepare to head back to real instead of virtual classrooms.
“Now we're looking at COVID recovery, and whatever that looks like, but I'm quite hopeful going forward we will support our families and our students and our teachers and our communities,” she said. “The kids being in school learning is vital for them not only for their learning, but for their mental health and their overall growth so I look forward to that recovery taking place.”
Karczmarczyk's whole philosophy is about looking forward about sustainability and education and she hopes the people she's served will let her continue.
“One of my things that I used to say was today's education for today's children which, of course, ever evolves as well.”