A St. Albert mental-health therapist says he plans to seek re-election this fall so he can keep serving the public as a school trustee.
Stanley Haroun filed his nomination papers Aug. 27 to run for re-election as a trustee for the St. Albert Public school board.
First elected in 2017, Haroun, 76, is president of the Stanley Haroun Group of Companies and a trained mental-health therapist. He is married with two adult children.
While his friends and family were split on whether or not he should run, Haroun said the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic motivated him to put his name on the ballot.
“My only objective is to continue to serve and ensure the district will continue to be in good hands.”
Haroun said the board did a lot of good work in the last four years, and he wants to ensure that work continues.
Haroun said his near-term priorities, if re-elected, would be to protect staff and students from the pandemic and its consequences. The board lobbied hard to get teachers on the priority list for vaccines earlier this year, and worked to ensure staff had the proper protective equipment. On Aug. 30, administration announced that staff and students would have to wear masks at all times in school for at least this September.
“There are a lot of areas we believe our students will require assistance to overcome,” Haroun said, particularly when it comes to education gaps and mental distress caused by the pandemic.
Haroun said the board hired additional therapists to help students address mental-health issues and will continue to work with federal and provincial officials to find new supports for youths. Schools are also providing remedial lessons to students who fell behind in school due to the pandemic.
Beyond the pandemic, Haroun said he plans to lobby the province for dedicated mental-health dollars in schools and to work with Active Communities Alberta to build an outdoor rink. He also plans to work on a new standalone anti-racism policy, defend LGBTQ rights, and advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.
Haroun said he hopes to see more people run for school trustee this fall.
“We have great people in our community who would love to serve,” he said, and it is a very satisfying job.
Haroun is the first incumbent to declare his candidacy for the 2021 St. Albert Public trustee race. Other trustees seeking re-election are Joe Dwyer (Sturgeon Public), and Joe Becigneul and Greg Schell (Greater St. Albert Catholic).
Details on the St. Albert Public trustee election can be found at www.spschools.org/board_governance/elections2021.
St. Albert Public Trustee Sheri Wright sent an email to The Gazette Aug. 24 confirming that she will not seek re-election in the 2021 municipal election.
A mother of three and an active volunteer, Wright was first elected to the St. Albert Public board in 2013 and has served two terms. She has a graduate degree in political science from the University of British Colombia and works as vice-president of stakeholder relations for the Local Authorities Pension Plan.
In the email, Wright said she has enjoyed her eight years as a trustee and felt she and the board had achieved many things in that time.
“It was a difficult decision for me, but honestly, I find I cannot work with this provincial government anymore,” she said.
“Every action they have taken since coming into office seems aimed at dismantling the excellent public education system in Alberta, a system that previous conservative governments worked so hard to build over many years. I cannot be a part of that.”
Wright said eight years is a long time to be a trustee, and that another four years would be a big commitment. She vowed to continue fighting for public education, “which this UCP government is set on dismantling.”
“Sometimes more can be achieved working outside the system than within it. This is one of those times.”
Wright declined an offer to elaborate on any of the points raised in her email.