Foothills board chair wont seek re-election
Education: Diana Froc represented FSDs Ward 2 for six years
By: Bruce Campbell
| Posted: Wednesday, Sep 18, 2013 06:00 am
The chairperson of the Foothills School Division’s board of trustees will not seek re-election for Ward 2.
Diana Froc was elected as trustee in 2007, defeating Kim Corrigan for the seat, which represents the Cayley-Blackie-Davisburg area. She regained her seat in 2010 when she won by acclamation, but it appears she will not be seeking a third term.
“I am leaning to not running again for personal reasons,” Froc said. “There are just some personal business and family that I would like to spend some more time with.”
Froc was elected chairperson of the board in 2010.
Much like a Kindergartener who started school in 2007, Froc has learned a lot the past six years.
“It has been a fantastic opportunity for me to learn about our system and have an impact on our system,” Froc said. “I definitely have a much better understanding about provincial government and education as a practice and a profession.”
She said the challenge of sitting on a board is representing one ward, while also keeping in mind the concerns of other wards in the division as well as other school districts in Alberta.
“You want to be an advocate for your local community, but you have to balance it for the entire division,” Froc said. “Then you have to balance for provincial needs as well.”
She said the June 20 flood was an example of thinking provincially.
“We had school divisions which were in need of portables but they gave them up for us because we had a greater need,” Froc said. “There are times when you go through that and say is our need greater than Fort McMurray or say Medicine Hat and weigh it against their needs.”
She added she was proud of how Foothills staff rallied together to help flood victims. She said staff from across the division helped at Blackie School, which was used as an evacuation centre for displaced High River residents.
“I am extremely proud of our staff — they were incredible,” she said. “Some of them were there for the entire month Blackie was used as an evacuation centre.”
The handling of the flood and its aftermath was just one of the things she is proud of in her six years on the board.
“I’m pleased and proud of our work — we have a strong academic system and we have a clear vision,” Froc said. “I believe our division is in a fantastic place.”
She said some of the tough decisions made by trustees included changing the school calendar, which eliminates the short Fridays, but provided more Fridays off for students to provide opportunities for teacher development, without affecting the number of hours in the classroom.
“That has been very successful,” she said. “It did increase PD (professional development) days a bit, but it got away from those short Fridays. We saw significant savings from that and that allowed us to have a little bit of wiggle room for achieving some other projects.”
She added another highlight was the division’s strong showing in the accountability pillar results, in which the Province measures the division’s standings in areas ranging from academic to community achievements.
“There are about 15 measures that government measures and every year we have shown improvement,” she said. “Those results are all really solid.”
There are still some challenges ahead for trustees who will sit at the division table after the Oct. 21 election.
“The next board’s challenge will be recovering from the flood,” she said. “Figuring out a future for division office and maintenance where facilities were damaged extensively.”
She said trustees will also have to work with growth issues — especially in Okotoks.
“They may need to figure out boundaries and how to get facilities to accommodate that growth,” she said.
Ward 2 trustee Jerry Muelaner has represented the Longview-Black Diamond area for 15 years, and was chair from 2000 to 2007.
He said Froc was an effective chairwoman.
“Right now, we might have the most diverse group we have ever had (on school board) and there are a lot of strong-willed people — that would be a challenge for anybody to manage that,” Muelaner said. “She has managed to get us to work together and go in the right direction.”