First-term trustee Judi Hunter is hoping for a second four-year spell to represent Rocky View Schools (RVS) Ward 5, which includes schools in Springbank, Bearspaw, Bragg Creek, Westbrook, and rural Cochrane.
“I’ve enjoyed the last four years. I love people, I’ve always loved education and I love kids,” she said.
Hunter, who holds a bachelor and master’s degree in education, was a principal and educator with the Calgary Board of Education for 27 years before coming to RVS.
She explained her initial motivation for running for the Ward 5 seat in 2017 was the desire to give back to the rural community and to continue her work in public education, which she called “the best job ever.”
“I also think I’ve made a positive contribution […] and I love working with the parents in the community and working on behalf of their kids. So, I love that aspect of the job,” Hunter said.
Now, with one term down, Hunter said her next four years, if re-elected, will be focused on the future.
“I really think we need to look and say, ‘what is it that we’re wanting our kids to have as skills and knowledge down the road?’ And we need to be developing those skills today so that they have them in the future,” she said, adding that this not only pertains to typical school subjects such as math and science, but also technology and social skills.
As a part of her future-focused plan, she said the issue of capacity in Rocky View County’s public schools has to be addressed. Hunter said that although Ward 5 is not yet over capacity in terms of student enrolment, it is close, and many wards across the division are in the same boat.
“I see in the literature, there’s a lot of looking at micro-schools, which I think offer some great possibilities for kids,” Hunter said.
She explained RVS has already had success with this type of programming, highlighting current alternative learning options available such as The Farm, Mechanics Training Centre, Building Futures, and the Leadership Academy.
According to Hunter, responding to the changing demographics of students is of the utmost importance. She highlighted the hiring of staff to care for the health and developmental needs of students, as well as awareness of diverse languages and cultures.
“We need to welcome people and we need to become fully engaged in our society,” she said. “So, we need to make sure the diversity piece is taken care of. That means hiring teachers that reflect the diverse populations that we have, [and] it means having different resources that affect that diversity.”
As an example of that, Hunter added that for the first time, two nurses were hired on with RVS this year.
Hunter said her core beliefs are in a strong public education system that enhances society’s social and economic structures, advocacy for children, and an opportunity for them to fully participate in society through education.
As for why people should vote for her, she said she has many qualities that make for a strong trustee candidate.
“I’m hard working, number one. I’m a collaborator, number two. I love working with people and I work on behalf of the community, I’m a good listener,” Hunter said. “I care about our kids, bottom line.”
The incumbent Hunter is up against former RVC Division 2 representative Jerry Arshinoff and real-estate agent Gerry Neustaedter for the lone seat in Ward 5.