Following the Oct. 18 Rocky View Schools (RVS) Board of Trustees election, both incumbent trustees will continue to represent Ward 3 (Airdrie) on the RVS Board of Trustees for the next four years, along with newcomer Fred Burley.
With eight of eight local polls reporting, vote counts indicated incumbent candidate Melyssa Bowen led the race with 3,902 votes, followed by fellow incumbent Todd Brand at 3,309. Fred Burley followed close behind with 3,182 votes to claim the third and final Ward 3 seat.
The day after the election, Bowen said in an email statement she is eager to serve a second term as trustee. She is excited to continue representing her community and is appreciative of the opportunity.
“I love this city and the work I have been part of over the last four years has been incredibly meaningful,” she said in the statement. “My passion for my community, public education and good governance are stronger than ever.
“I care deeply about providing inclusive and equitable education and believe strongly in the engagement and advocacy that brings us together to make it possible here in Airdrie.”
Similarly, incumbent trustee Brand said he is both honoured and pleased to serve another four years on the RVS Board of Trustees.
"Our schools are facing challenges that none of us had anticipated and I look forward to working with our staff and Board to meet those challenges," he said in an email statement. "I express my gratitude to all who took the time to vote, regardless of who they voted for.
"Now it's time to get busy and work hard for our students."
The other candidates for Ward 3 included Aftan Forrest, Jason Spratt and Pam Thursfield. With six candidates, Ward 3 was the most contested of RVS' six wards in this year's election.
Thursfield came in fourth on election night, garnering 2,441 votes, while Forrest and Spratt rounded out the field with 2,072 and 1,739 votes, respectively.
Newcomer Burley said the campaign trail was a bit of a learning curve and involved a lot of work, but he felt “excitement and elation” when he realized he had snagged a seat as trustee.
“It's different than the average campaign because of COVID-19, so you didn't have the same door-to-door knocking, but there [were] still a lot of questions to be answered and a big learning curve,” he said. “I learned a lot during the campaign just by doing my research on what the school board did exactly – finding out what issues were out there to parents.”
The former City of Airdrie councillor and 2017 mayoral candidate said his prior experience in municipal politics also equipped him for the campaign.
“I want to commend the other [five] candidates for trustee,” he said. “They all ran a nice, clean, fair campaign. I didn't see any negativity out there against other candidates.”
In Ward 2, representing public schools in Langdon, Indus, and southeast Rocky View County, career educator Shelley Kinley took the seat with 1,127 votes, while Langdonite Brandi-Lee Mouck came in second place with 392 votes.
In Ward 5, representing west Rocky View County schools, incumbent trustee Judi Hunter took the lead with 1,970 votes. Contenders Gerry Neustaedter followed behind with 1,031 votes, while former RVC councillor Jerry Arshinoff ended up in third place with 945 votes.
Current RVS Board Chair and Ward 6 trustee Fiona Gilbert reclaimed her position as Cochrane's representative on the RVS board, beating out contenders Simon Ongom and Peter Fortna. Gilbert, who will serve her third term, ended the night with 1,833 votes. Ongom was the runner-up, with 1,601 votes, while Fortna trailed in third with 1,288 votes.
The positions for Ward 1 (Chestermere) and Ward 4 (north Rocky View County) were acclaimed in this year's election. Shali Baziuk will continue as Chestermere's RVS trustee, while Norma Lang will continue to represent schools in Crossfield, Beiseker and Kathyrn.
The election results are unofficial until Oct. 22 and may be subject to change. The winning candidates will be sworn in during the board's first organizational meeting on Oct. 28.
The Calgary Catholic School District (CCSD) also saw the re-election of its incumbent trustee for Wards 3, 5, and Airdrie on Oct. 18.
Linda Wellman ended the night in first with 4,034 votes. Candidate Pina Lamb took second place with 3,060 votes, Oscar Buera claimed third with 1,504 votes, and Addie Corah took fourth place with 1,372 votes.
Airdrie has four schools represented in CSSD – Good Shepherd School, St. Veronica School, Our Lady Queen of Peace School, and St. Martin de Porres High School.