With a passion for public education and an advantage of prior connections from serving as a trustee for Chinooks Edge School Division (CESD) and on the Board of Governors Members for Olds College, Jackie Swainson has once again stepped forward to run for the position of a CESD Trustee.
“Sylvan Lake is the largest community in our school division, and we have had a desperate need for a new high school for a long time, and at one time it was really high up on the priorities,” said Swainson. “I really am concerned about that, I am concerned about the direction that the provincial government has been heading with their education policies and their consultation policies. I think they have made a lot of mistakes that, if followed through with, our students will pay for. My heart is really in public education, and so, I would like to go back on the board if I was successful. I would like to advocate for our community, and our schools, our teachers, and our parents for the school situation,” she added.
Watching her father serve as the Chair of the Red Deer School Board and the Red Deer College Board, Swainson grew up to be inspired to continue his legacy. “I grew up in Red Deer, my dad was Chair of the school board for years,” she said, adding, “So, there’s always been that example to me of community leadership, and being a trustee is something that I have a passion for and I have loved every minute that I have served, and I think I have a lot to offer.”
After several years of working in the field of public education, Swainson took a break to concentrate on certain other things, such as her Nuts for Bolts etc. business, selling fabrics and quilting supplies. However, unable to stay away from her passion for long, having several people suggest her to run for election, and while being reintroduced to educational challenges with her grandchildren enrolled in local schools, Swainson bounced right back to continue from where she had stepped out.
Living in one of Sylvan Lake’s surrounding rural communities, Swainson said that she has been residing in this area for about 27 years. “I have a lot of experience in leadership and policy with this community. My kids all grew up here and went to school here, and now my grandkids are in school in Sylvan (Lake).”
“We have always been at the edge of overcapacity at every school,” said Swainson. “It has become a political decision with the government. They tend to announce and build schools in places where perhaps they need to because of popularity. It has become a political process, not necessarily a need process. And I think we need to turn it back into a need process for our community,” she added.
Swainson said that she will push to make the required agreements with the government to help bring Sylvan Lake on par with what school facilities should look like in today’s time. I would really like to serve my community in this area, and I want to do what I am passionate about, and what I really care about, and for me it has always been education, and it has always been public education,” she concluded.