By Andrew Ehrkamp
News Editor

Ted Paszek hopes voters will re-elect him as a trustee for Elk Island Catholic Schools, in part because his skills and experience will be a big help in the future.

“I think the biggest issue is growth in Alberta,” said Paszek, a retired Catholic school teacher and principal, who has been an Elk Island Catholic Schools trustee off and on for more than 30 years.

“As the population grows, so will the need for space and facilities in the right places. It’s always an issue, and one that we’ll be facing over the next few years. We’re doing OK right now, but the next board will have to think about how we accommodate kids.”

Paszek, who has a doctorate in educational policy studies from the University of Alberta, has developed his expertise in constitutional rights for Catholic education and has been an expert witness on the topic.

His four children are graduates of Elk Island Catholic Schools, and four of his nine grandchildren attend Catholic schools in Sherwood Park.

“Our Catholic schools provide an excellent education, but even more importantly, we provide a Gospel values based education that helps develop the whole child – academically, physically, socially and spiritually,” said Paszek, who retired in 2004 as principal of St. Vladimir School in Edmonton.

“I have the skills and the experience, and I want to keep animating that we’re excited about Catholic education. The commitment to Catholic education is important to me, and how we continue that, through staff, young parents and students.”

Paszek said he supports ongoing faith development programs for Elk Island Catholic staff, as well as Safe and Caring Communities, which models socially responsible and respectful behaviour, and the Life Framework which addresses diversity.

Critics have called for one publicly funded education system, but Paszek said “the biggest threat to Catholic education is from within. If we work hard and take pride in the faith-based system that we have, that’s our strength. It’s important to the fabric of Alberta.”

Paszek said he has the governance experience to lobby on behalf of Elk Island Catholic Schools. He is also the past president of the Canadian Catholic School Trustees’ Association and a former president of the Alberta Catholic School Trustees’ Association.

An Elk Island Catholic Schools trustee with more than three decades of experience, Paszek said he knows how to deal with issues as they come up. His advice is simple: “Consult, consult. Consult with parents and the community, then offer good options.

“If we do that and have a good process, then we’ll come out all right.”

Paszek and his wife Jan are longtime residents of the County of Strathcona and active parishioners at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church in Sherwood Park. He is also a sessional lecturer in Catholic educational leadership at Newman Theological College.

Paszek can be contacted by phone at 780-913-4310 or on his Facebook page, facebook.com/electtedpaszek.