Okotoks trustee still has faith in system
Education: Ron Schreiber excited to serve sixth term with CTR Catholic
Wednesday, Nov 01, 2017 06:00 am
The faith and passion is still there for a trustee who has served Okotoks for more than 15 years.
“In Okotoks, this is my sixth term,” said Ron Schreiber, Christ the Redeemer Catholic Schools trustee. “I find it is actually getting better because you know people and you have a better idea of what is going on and what is happening in education in the province.
“Also, as you get older, it seems you get more respect.”
Respect isn’t something that is just handed out — it’s earned. In addition to serving 16 years as an Okotoks trustee for the separate school board, Schreiber previously was a trustee for Oyen at Assumption Roman Catholic School District. He helped Assumption joined CTR Catholic several years ago.
Schreiber retained his Okotoks seat by acclamation during the Oct. 16 municipal election. He also kept the CTR Catholic chair position during its organizational meeting three days later.
There are still plenty of challenges both in Okotoks and the division, said Schreiber.
“From a board perspective we want to build a strong alumni who can build and maintain an energy and excitement for the school in which they came from long into the future,” he said. “Another priority is relationship, relationship, relationship with government, other boards and parents. We understand the importance of being able to communicate and trying to grow the support of Catholic education in the province.”
Faith remains a high priority in the division, said Schreiber.
“We are continuing to see a high demand from parents for an understanding and consistency within the faith and teaching in the school,” he said.
He said Catholic education is under the microscope at times.
“People will talk about one system versus two in the publicly-funded systems,” Schreiber explained. “[Some] people are often intolerant of Catholic perspective, having the teachings of Christ in the schools.
“We will have to be working more and more to try and create understanding about that and try to engender support for our cause — show people the success of our Catholic systems.”
The division will also continue to strive for excellence in student numeric and reading literacy.
As well, it realizes the importance of First Nations and Métis people in Canada’s history. Schreiber said while there are relatively few First Nations students in the traditional schools within CTR Catholic, the numbers are increasing in the division’s Centre for Learning and home schooling systems.
CTR Catholic has come a long way in Schreiber’s years with the board. It is now the third-largest separate school system in the province, behind only its counterparts in Edmonton and Calgary.
“I think most people aren’t aware of that,” he said. “I think that means we have to take a larger leadership role when part of organizations across the province in regards to lobbying and working with the government.
“With our increased numbers, there are increased responsibilities... We are more than willing to share with other boards our experiences and expertise.
Schreiber said CTR Catholic is considered one of the leaders in the province regarding English Language Learners, adding the division’s schools in Brooks and High River have 60 and 30 per cent, respectively, students whose first language is not English.
“It’s a necessity for us to teach these kids and we have been sharing our expertise with other jurisdictions,” he said.
Although there has been plenty of change in the division over his more than 15 years at CTR Catholic, some things remain the same.
“Our values are still the same,” Schreiber said. “The Truth doesn’t change and we are still trying to pursue that… Through the demonstration of love in the school by the staff for the students we are able to convince these kids that they matter and their learning matters.”
The other trustees of the CTR Catholic board are Michelle Rude-Volk, Oyen; vice-chair Harry Salm, Strathmore; Vijay Domingo, Canmore; Joanne Van Donzel, High River; Andrea Keenan, MD of Foothills; John de Jong, Brooks; and Mark Chung, Drumheller.