Sheri Smears for HPSD trustee

Joe McWilliams
Lakeside Leader

One of three Slave Lakers running for a vacant spot on the High Prairie School Division Board of Trustees is Sheri Smears. Mother of four, grandmother of five and 43-year resident of the area, Smears says she’s got the time, got the interest and got the experience that make her a good candidate.

“I’m a positive, optimistic person,” she says.

Smears claims no special insight into the workings of the education system – although she is a former employee of the HPSD and her kids all went through the system. One of them – it is worth noting – is former school trustee as well.

No special insight, “But I can have ideas and ask lots of questions,” she says.

School bus safety is a big issue for Smears. If elected she would lobby hard for it. She thinks there should be seatbelts on buses.

Another thing: “I would really like to see music and arts.”

Both are hit and miss at the local elementary schools, Smears says, depending on what teachers happen to be there. With the recent retirement of a couple of musical teachers, music has disappeared. Given what’s known about the mental health benefits of art and music, she figures it deserves more support and emphasis.

“We have so many people who could bring it into the schools,” she says. “It doesn’t have to be a class to get marked on.”

Smears also has questions about the allocation of resources within the school division. There’s an impression of Slave Lake – despite having the greater population – not getting its fair share. Not only that, but she hears (apparently from teachers) that the number of central office staff has increased greatly over the years, while the number of in-school staff hasn’t. If elected, she’d like to take a look at that.

Also: “Why aren’t there board meetings in Slave Lake?”

One more thing: Smears knows trustee Ali Mouallem well (a Rotary Club connection) and says they “make a good team.”

The by-election is on Feb. 4.

Sheri Smears

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