Julie has knocked on thousands of doors. People ask her all great questions. Here are some of her answers.
Q: Do you live in Ward F?
A: YES! I live in the Queen Alexandra neighbourhood, and have since 2007.
Q: What’s your education background?
A: I hold a B.A. (hon) and an M.A.
Q: Do you work?
A: Yes! I currently work in communications and outreach for two multi-stakeholder non-profit organizations. Earlier in my career I worked as an analyst with Alberta Health. You can read more about my work history on Linked In.
Q: How old are you?
A: I’m 37 years old.
Q: Do your kids attend Edmonton Public Schools?
A: Yes! My eldest child is in junior high. My two middle children attend elementary school and my youngest will begin kindergarten next year.
Q: What are your thoughts on the Draft K-6 Curriculum introduced by the UCP government earlier this year?
A: I do not support the draft curriculum. I do strongly support support the current EPSB position to delay the draft curriculum until a significant re-write process can be undertaken.
Read more on my priorities page.
Q: COVID cases are very high in Alberta. What will you do to help ensure our children are safe in schools?
A: I’m concerned about COVID transmission in schools, especially in children under the age of 12 who have yet to be vaccinated. I support mandatory masking in schools. I also support the recent letter from the Edmonton Public School Board, asking the province to reinstate measures for contract tracing and close contact quarantining.
I am 100% supportive of COVID vaccinations and hope that every single eligible Albertan gets their shot.
Similar to Alberta Health Services and the City of Edmonton who will require staff to be immunized, I support mandatory vaccinations for EPSB staff, contractors, and volunteers who are in the schools working with students. Of course, a mechanism would need to be in place for those requiring an exemption for a valid medical reason.
Q: How will you advocate for more funding?
A: This is a good question. The province recently adopted the Weighted Moving Average model and changed the grant framework for school boards.
What this means is that a growing district like Edmonton Public receives less funding year after year.
I’d like to put forward a motion requesting that that province develop a “growing district top up”. This top up would be provided to growing districts like Edmonton Public. The top up would help make up for the difference in funding under the new Weighted Moving Average model and the per student funding a district would have otherwise received.
See my priorities page for more on funding.
Q: I’m concerned about teachers. How will you support their mental health and wellness?
A: I know some teachers are exhausted, demoralized, and feel like more and more is being put on their shoulders. I also recognize that there is no ONE solution. Knowing that student success is contingent on their teachers’ mental and physical wellbeing, I will advocate for resources and supports that will help teachers and administration build supportive environments.
I welcome teacher feedback on the best ways the Board of Trustees can help create supportive environments for you. We all want students to learn in a great environment with teachers who are happy, supported, and glad to be at work everyday.
I also encourage you to check out my Kusiek Chats on Mental Health and Schools.
Q: What are your views on Seclusion Rooms?
A: I believe Edmonton Public Schools should move away from the use of seclusion rooms.
Q: As trustee, what will you do to listen to the concerns of parents?
A: Meaningful engagement with parents is important to me. As trustee, I will actively seek to listen and learn from Ward F parents. I will reflect on what is important to parents when making decisions as a trustee. I look forward to attending school council meetings and special events at Ward F schools. Parents will also be welcome to email me anytime, and we can connect that way, or schedule a time to chat. During my campaign I held Kusiek Chats as a way to talk about issues in public education. I also look forward to continuing to hold virtual conversations like Kusiek Chats. What issues should we talk about next?
Q: What are your thoughts on our current system with both a public and a separate school board?
A: Alberta is rooted in the tradition of public and separate schools that I think is unlikely to change anytime soon. I firmly believe all Edmonton trustees, regardless of their board, are committed to putting the needs of students first. That’s why I will champion a more collaborative relationship. This includes working together on items such as the yellow school bus service, bulk purchasing of supplies, and sharing repair and maintenance staff.
Q: How do you plan to support marginalized communities in our schools?
A: I support EPSB’s new Anti-Racism and Equity policy. As trustee, I will be attentive to how well issues are actually addressed. I believe it is important for EPSB to continue its work towards the Truth and Reconciliation Calls to Action. I am also supportive of Gay-Straight Alliances and the right of a student’s participation to remain private.
I believe students need to see themselves reflected in the teachers who instruct them, and I support working towards a staff population that better reflects the diversity of our students.
Please see my Kusiek Chats on Belonging for more.
Do you have a question for Julie? Fill out the Contact Julie form on the homepage.