Peace Wapiti Public School Division (PWSD) is pleased to announce the official results of the 2017 School Board Election, held on Monday, October 16. Re-elected for the 2017-2021 term are incumbents Wendy Kelm in Ward 5, representing Grande Prairie West and Wembley, and Stefanie Clarke in Ward 7, representing Grande Prairie East and Grovedale.
With two candidates vying for the Ward 5 seat, the final count saw Ms. Kelm claim 332 votes – 74 per cent of the 447 votes cast during Monday's election. The remaining 115 votes went to Cameron Donald.
In Ward 7, Ms. Clarke won with 304 votes, or 45 per cent of the 670 votes cast. Of the remaining 366 votes cast, Lynda Miller took 265, while Stephanie Zee Fehler came in third with 101. The results, provided by Returning Officer Debbie Haakstad, were deemed official at noon today, Friday, October 20, 2017, under the Local Authorities Election Act.
Trustee Wendy Kelm and husband Brian have been married for 37 years, own and operate a small oilfield business, and have three grown children – daughters Brittany and Leanne, and son Dustin – who are graduates of PWSD schools. She also co-owns and operates a clothing store with her daughters. Since moving to the Wembley area 26 years ago, Ms. Kelm has been active in the community as a member of the Family and Community Support Services Board, and past member of the Wembley and District Agricultural Society, Wembley Minor Hockey Association, and Wembley Elementary School Council. During her last three terms, she served as a Northwest Regional Learning Consortium director for Zone 1 of the Alberta School Boards' Association (ASBA) and held memberships on a number of committees.
"As a rural community member, I realize many challenges lie ahead as we face tighter budgets, growing populations in some areas and declining populations in others," says Ms. Kelm. "In this term, I will join forces with the Board to continue lobbying for adequate transportation funding to reduce ride times for students, while working to secure replacement schools outside the City of Grande Prairie for Harry Balfour School and Peace Wapiti Academy students. Ensuring every child receives the best possible education is key for me, and I believe this can be achieved by listening to, and being the voice for, students, parents and community members so that no child is left behind."
Prior to marriage and becoming a stay-at-home mother to her two daughters in 2006, Trustee Stefanie Clarke worked as a counselor at Project 118 Youth Ranch for high risk teenage girls; opened and operated The Studio for Ceramic Arts in Grande Prairie where she also offered painting lessons to adults and children; and held various retail positions. She is a Certified Physical Culture Instructor for older adults; and holds certificates in Early Childhood Development and Organic Inspection, and a Master Herbalist diploma. During her first term with the PWSD Board, Ms. Clarke's interest in health and wellness made her a natural fit for the role of ASBA Zone 1 Student Health and Wellness Regional Team Representative. From there, she was named Rural AB Representative to the ASBA Student Health Task Force, and later, Chair of the AB Student Health and Wellness Regional Team Coalition. She volunteers as the exercise program lead at Wild Rose Manor in Grande Prairie, and is actively involved with Penson School and Grovedale's Figure Skating Club, Arena, and Volunteer Fire Department.
"My goal is to be present and available to listen and understand the needs of the community, while continuing to work toward improving the quality of education in all PWSD schools," says Ms. Clarke. "As a second-term trustee, I will continue to lobby for improved transportation funding and service, and for PWSD's top three Capital Plan goals – to address enrolment growth by securing replacement schools for Harry Balfour School and Peace Wapiti Academy, and a new Kindergarten-Grade 8 school in Clairmont Heights."
Acclaimed newcomers Kari Scheers, Ward 1, and Lori Grant, Ward 3, along with incumbents Sharilyn Anderson, Kim Moodie, Wendy Kelm, Dale Crane, Stefanie Clarke, Robert Knull and Dana McIntosh – representing Wards 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 respectively – will be officially sworn in during the Organizational Meeting of the new Board at PWSD Central Office at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, October 26. The first regular meeting of the new Board will follow at 11:30 a.m.
Photos: On Monday, October 16, 2017, incumbents Wendy Kelm and Stefanie Clarke were re-elected to the PWSD Board in Wards 5 and 7 respectively.