Colleen MacPherson has been elected as board chair for Saskatoon Public Schools for the 2019-20 academic year.
MacPherson was elected to the position by her fellow trustees during the board's inaugural meeting held Nov. 5. First elected as a trustee in 2009, she has served as vice-chair of the board four times and previously chaired the board's pension trustee and governance committees. MacPherson is the current chair of the Public Section of the Saskatchewan School Boards Association.
"It's an honour to serve the students, families and staff of Saskatoon Public Schools in the role of chair of the Board of Education," said MacPherson, the trustee representative for Ward 5. "I look forward to working with my board colleagues not only on the day-to-day governance of our school division, but also on the exciting task of implementing our new strategic plan and our commitment to create learning experiences that inspire all students to reach their potential. At the same time, we'll continue to advocate for a level of education funding from the province that ensures we can meet the needs of our diverse and growing student population."
In her remarks to the board after her election, MacPherson said she looked forward to focusing on the division's new strategic plan, working with community partners such as the Saskatoon Tribal Council, and continuing to lobby the provincial government for timely and appropriate funding for education.
MacPherson replaces Ray Morrison as board chair. Morrison, who chose not to run for the position, had been board chair for Saskatoon Public Schools since 2006. He will continue as trustee for Ward 10 and has been elected to serve a six-month term as vice-chair for the board. Trustee Donna Banks will serve the consecutive six-month term as board vice-chair.
"I have been proud to represent Saskatoon Public Schools every day for the past 13 years, but it is time for someone else to take the reins. I know Colleen will be a strong voice for our school division at a time when public education couldn't be more crucial," said Morrison. "I remain a passionate advocate for our students and staff members, a dedicated representative for my Ward 10 constituents, and a proud supporter of Saskatoon Public Schools."
Morrison is the longest-serving chair of the Saskatoon Board of Education since its amalgamation with the Saskatoon Collegiate Institute Board in 1971. In her remarks during the meeting, MacPherson said Morrison left big shoes to fill.
"(Morrison) served with courage and commitment, never wavering in the belief that what's in the best interest of students is always our priority," said MacPherson.