Living Sky SD board member elected to provincial post

Living Sky School Division director Ronna Pethick of Unity was elected for the central constituency at the 97th annual convention of the Saskatchewan School Boards Association.

The convention elected a new executive with a bold and ambitious plan for improved student achievement in Saskatchewan. The association executive represents every area of the province and includes all public, catholic and francophone school divisions in the province.

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Pethick told me she first ran as a trustee for the school board because she had a passion for education which she still holds. She was first elected as a trustee to the newly amalgamated Lands West School Division in 1997.

Pethick was elected to the newly amalgamated Living Sky School Division Board of Education, in June 2006. She has represented the Unity, Cut Knife and Hillsvale Hutterite Colony for the past 15 years. Pethick was elected vice-chair of the board in 2009 and still serves in that capacity.

This year she is taking on a new challenge, having let her name stand and being elected as the central constituency representative for the Saskatchewan School Boards Association executive, a two-year term. The central constituency consists of seven boards of education reaching from Alberta to Manitoba borders.

The SSBA executive will meet roughly once a month for two days in Regina. In addition to these executive meetings, Pethick may be appointed to other committees. Her travel, in addition to the area she serves for Living Sky SD will take her to North Battleford, Saskatoon, Regina and many other communities along the way in this new elected position.

Pethick also was appointed to represent Living Sky SD on the Battlefords First Nations Sakewew High School Joint Board of Education in November.

Pethick tells us, "There are many issues facing boards of education in our province. Student achievement and engagement are priorities for all boards of education as well as the government. Cultural diversity, finances, education funding, demographic changes and increasing aboriginal student population are issues that all boards are dealing with. My work on provincial committees has given me a unique perspective and insight that I feel will help guide the decisions and leadership of the SSBA. I not only want to retain what we have built in this province but enhance and create change that is positive and transparent. I feel it is vital that we continue to advocate on behalf of boards of education to ensure our voices are heard."

Pethick is known for being part of the many school activities taking place in the area she serves, whether it be laying a wreath at an area school's Remembrance Day service, serving pancakes at Unity Public School's annual welcome back breakfast or any one of the numerous events that take place.

While spare time serving these two positions is limited, Pethick volunteers wherever and however she can when she is at home. Pethick is also a Justice of the Peace and has been for the past 33 years.

She and her husband like to spend as much time as they can with their children and grandchildren: Jennifer , a lawyer, married to Glenn Houser, regional general manager for Cargill, and their three daughters; Troy, an instrument technician and manger of the Bonnyville shop for Noralta Controls; Kelsey, a pharmacist, engaged to Jordan Kist, business manager for Living Sky SD.

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