An Estevan’s trustee on the South East Cornerstone Public School Division’s board was one of three retiring board members recognized during the board’s Oct. 14 meeting.
Shari Sutter, who has completed her first term as an Estevan representative, said she appreciated getting to know her fellow board members and to get to know the issues surrounding the delivery of public school education in a large sector of the province.
“Learning the issues and getting to work on them, has been a privilege,” she said.
She was acclaimed to the post in the 2016 school board election, but decided not to seek a second term.
Sutter and the other board members were given the chance to speak at the meeting.
Harold Laich, who represents Subdivision 2, (Arcola, Carlyle, Manor, Wawota), noted he has been a part of the provincial education system in one way or another since 1983 as a teacher, administrator and in management positions, as well as a long-serving board member with regional board positions prior to the amalgamation of six school divisions into what is now South East Cornerstone. He also served a term as chairman of the Cornerstone board.
“The learning curve is significant,” he said, speaking to the proposed newcomers who will take board seats at the November 18 session. “The issues are more complex than you can imagine sometimes and even more so than being on a town council.”
Laich went on to say he served the board with passion as did other members and that sometimes led to conflicts.
“But, you don’t have to agree on everything. In fact this is what gives the board strength, strength comes from diversity and in the end we come together with a solution, an answer, for the public.”
He also drew a round of laughter as he recalled his occasional disagreements with board chairwoman Audrey Trombley, while making the point that disagreements make the board better when the arguments are made with respect.
Laich also thanked director of education Lynn Little, who, he said, “is an outstanding director. She is more prepared than anyone I have seen in this position over the years.”
It was noted that Little is just one of five female educational directors within the province.
Laich’s replacement for Subdivision 2 will be Jim Vermeersch, who has been the other Estevan representative on the board since early 2018. Vermeersch recently relocated to Kenosee Lake, and decided to represent Subdivision 2 rather than trying to be an Estevan trustee when residing more than an hour away.
Elwood White stated he was honoured to have been a part of the decision-making processes during his two terms as a member of the board of trustees.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience,” he told his fellow board members.
Saying he hoped he had helped shape the future of provincial education in some manner, the Subdivision 6 representative (Gladmar, Oungre, Pangman, Ogema, Yellow Grass et al) concluded by saying it was a tremendous experience.
All three were thanked by Trombley for their service over the years and they received a heartfelt round of applause by their fellow trustees before they all returned to the business at hand, and for the three of them, their final opportunities for direct input into the board decision making processes.