Trustee Compensation, ASBA, and EPSB Student Advisory Council (January 8th Board Updates)

It is always awkward for elected officials to discuss their compensation. I did not vote for any additional compensation for myself, but rather in favor of adjustments for the 2013-2017 Board of Trustees. The new compensation framework will be posted and available to future trustee candidates.

The compensation adjustment is aligned with that given to the exempt management staff. I believe in fair and competitive compensation, aligned with that being paid to other trustees of comparable size and responsibility, that is reflective of the duties and expectations of the community.

Most of the package was status quo and there were no major changes, merely slight adjustments reflective of changing practices.

The 7.69% figure and the 2.25% figure came from agreements that were achieved with the exempt management staff.

I voted in favor of the professional development allocations as I believe that it is crucial for our elected leaders to model lifelong learning. It is important for trustees to remain on the cutting edge of education issues provincially and nationally and working with other education leaders can help ensure those setting policy for the district are making the most informed decisions possible.

To see the full recommendation click here:

I also voted in favor of the trustee policy review plan and timelines detailed here:

I also voted in favor of the Alberta School Boards Association Strategic Plan for 2013-2016. It would see the ASBA focusing on building partnerships, advocacy for school boards, and other worthwhile initiatives.

The Student Advisory Council Recommendation looks sound, and I look forward to it being enacted. I think this will really improve the efficacy of students and their future democratic participation. Research shows that engagement activities such as this are valuable for students and promote lifelong engagement.

January 9, 2013

Board approves remuneration for next term

Yesterday, the Edmonton Public Schools Board of Trustees approved a recommendation to increase Trustee remuneration effective October 22, 2013. The increase will not apply to the current Board of Trustees, as it comes into effect after the next school board election in October 2013.

Part of the increased cost will be offset by a decision to eliminate the position of Caucus Committee Chair. The duties previously carried out by this position will be assumed by the Board Vice-Chair.

“The Board wanted to provide the next group of Trustees with fair compensation that reflects the level of work and commitment required of this demanding position,” says Board Chair Sarah Hoffman “The increase in remuneration is based on the most recent settlements reached with most of the District’s staff groups.”

The Board did not approve a recommendation to retroactively apply cost of living increases to remuneration received by current Trustees.

“Trustees ran for office based on the level of remuneration in place when we were elected,” says Hoffman. “The Board recognized it would not be appropriate for us to approve an increase to our own remuneration.”

The full board report, which is posted on the district website, provides details on all of the remuneration increase recommendations.

The next board meeting will take place on January 15, 2013 at 2 p.m.

- 30 –

For further information, call the Edmonton Public Schools media relations line at 780-429-8282.

Board Committed To Concussion Safety

* Updated: Please see media release below. I am pleased to see the resulting information from our administration and the steps they are taking to ensure that no shortcuts are taken when it comes to student health. *

Building on District Priority #4 (Promote health and wellness for all students and staff) at our Tuesday, November 27th Board meeting I put forward an RFI (Request for Information) to the administration regarding concussions and compliance with best practices.

Request For Information: Please provide information on how EPSB teams are compliant with best practices regarding concussions in athletics.

The safety of our young athletes is an issue of considerable importance to our community. This is an issue I’ve been hearing about frequently from parents, but also from community members given the high-profile attention that many professional athletes are shining on this issue. My intention is to ensure that this information is shared with parents and community members and together with our athletic professionals, we can further support safe sport.
Does the board have the proper policies in place to support the health of our kids?
For now, this post is merely a placeholder. Once I have the response from administration I will update and amend this blog post with links and references to the relevant material.
A district parent sent me these resources and if you have other links, please let me know and I will share them:

January 16, 2013

Board committed to concussion safety

Yesterday, the Edmonton Public Schools Board of Trustees received a report on the District’s use of best practices to prevent and address concussions among student athletes.

Board policy outlines the expectation that district staff provide safe learning environments for all students taking part in interschool athletic activities. To maximize student safety, staff must follow the Safety Guidelines for Secondary Interschool Athletics in Alberta and must implement safe coaching practices for athletic activities.

In addition, at least one member of a team’s coaching staff must have taken the Alberta Schools Athletic Association’s Concussion in Sports – What You Need to Know online course. Most recently, in November 2012, schools were provided with a Return to Learn Post-concussion Protocol to guide district staff in supporting students who are recovering from a concussion.

“The Board places the highest possible value on ensuring student safety,” says Board Chair Sarah Hoffman. “The District is taking the necessary steps to minimize the likelihood of concussions and to take appropriate action if they do occur.”

The District’s Comprehensive School Health team will continue to review district practice and make any necessary adjustments required to support student safety on and off the sports field. More details on concussion safety at Edmonton Public Schools can be found in the full board report, which is posted on the district website at

Honoured to receive the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal

On November 14th, 2012, I was honoured to receive the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal from Premier Redford and Lieutenant Governor Donald Ethell.

I was honoured to share a special afternoon with the other recipients. They represented quite a cross-section of Albertan society and I’m sure their families and friends are very proud. I’ve posted the names of the other Edmonton winners below. Congratulations everyone!

Diamond Jubilee Medal

The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal honours Her Majesty’s service to our country. It also honours significant contributions and achievements by Canadians.

  • Edmonton

    Premier Alison Redford presented the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal to more than one hundred recipients from across the province and various walks of life during a ceremony on November 14, 2012.

    • Ms. Muriel Abdurahman
    • Mr. Ken Agrell-Smith
    • Mr. Giuseppe Albi
    • Mr. Trevor Anderson
    • Ms. Marg Andriuk
    • Mr. Tesfaye Ayalew
    • Mr. Bob Baker
    • Ms. Juanita Bartsch
    • Mr. Reg Basken
    • Mr. Warren Becker
    • Mr. Murray Billett
    • Mrs. Lillian Boddez
    • Mr. Allan Bolstad
    • Mr. Ron Bos
    • Deputy Chief (Retd) Mike Bradshaw
    • Mr. John Brennan
    • Ms. Sandra Bromley
    • Mr. Glen Buick
    • Ms. Mary Cameron
    • Ms. Cindy Chiasson
    • Ms. Yvonne Chiu
    • Const. Timothy Connell
    • Ms. Linda Cook
    • Ms. Judy Cosco
    • His Worship Nolan Crouse
    • Mr. Chester Cunningham
    • Mr. Rick Curtis
    • Mr. Russ Dahms
    • His Worship Headley Dennill
    • Ms. Sylvie Duchesne
    • Ms. Terri Duncan
    • Sgt. Bruce Edwards
    • Ms. Iris Evans
    • Dr. Laurier Fagnan
    • Ms. Val Figliuzzi
    • Mr. Martin Forbes
    • Mr. Werner Frose
    • Mr. Gord Fuhr
    • Mr. Dave Ganert
    • Mr. Martin Garber-Conrad
    • Ms. Peggy Garritty
    • Mr. Brian Geislinger
    • Mr. Doug Goss
    • Ms. Susan Green
    • Mr. Syed Hasan
    • Mr. Doug Haynes
    • Mr. John Healy
    • Ms. Sylvia Holcomb
    • Ms. Carol Holmes
    • Mr. Danny Hooper
    • His Worship Stuart Houston
    • Mr. Ernie Ingles
    • Mr. Michael James
    • Mr. Michael Janz
    • Mr. Mykola Kanevets
    • Her Worship Gale Katchur
    • Ms. Sue Keating
    • Mr. Wallis Kendal
    • Ms. Cathy King
    • Ms. Suzan Krecsy
    • His Worship Gregory Krischke
    • Ms. Deborah Kully
    • Most Reverend Joseph MacNeil
    • Mr. Jean Grand-Maitre
    • Mr. John Mahon
    • Mrs. Lynn Mandel
    • Mr. Loryn Marcellus
    • Mr. Ray Martin
    • Mr. Julian Mayne
    • Mr. Scot McAvoy
    • Mr. Ross McBain
    • Mr. Blake McDougall
    • Mr. Tom McFall
    • Mr. Paul McLoughlin
    • Ms. Christy Morin
    • Mr. Joseph Moss
    • His Worship Jeff Mulligan
    • Mr. Reza Nasseri
    • Mr. Don Neufeld
    • Mr. Thanh Nguyen
    • Ms. Brenda O’Donnell
    • Ms. Sheila O’Kelly
    • Ms. Fardoussa Omar
    • Ms. Mary O’Neill
    • Ms. Janet E. Parks
    • Mr. Masood Peracha
    • Mr. Rajmund Pierzchajlo
    • Mr. Carmelo Rago
    • Ms. Stella Rago
    • Ms. Jean Richards
    • Inspector Terry Rocchio
    • Mr. Bruce Saville
    • Inspector Darlene Savoie
    • Mr. Allan Scott
    • Mr. Lawrie Seligman
    • Mr. Robert Sinclair
    • Mr. Alan Skoreyko
    • Ms. Teresa Spinelli
    • Mr. Bob Splane
    • Mr. Doug Stollery
    • Ms. Colleen Sutherland
    • Grand Chief Roland Twinn
    • Mr. Todd Van Vliet
    • Ms. Linda Wedman
    • Staff Sgt. Randy Wickins
    • Mr. Terry Wickham
    • Ms. Sandra Woitas
    • Grand Chief Marvin Yellowbird
    • Ms. Harriet Younie
    • Staff Sgt. Darren Zimmerman
    • Mrs. Tillie Zyp

Trustee Janz selected as one of Edmonton’s “Top 40 Under 40″

Last week I was honoured by Avenue Edmonton as one of their “Edmonton’s Top 40 Under 40″ for 2012.

You can read the full article here:

Thank you to the Avenue Edmonton Team, 3Ten Photo, Cheryl Mahaffy and the anonymous nominators who put my name forward to receive this award.

What will happen after the school closure Moratorium expires?

How do we support public education in mature neighbourhoods? Today, and 20 years from now?

As former Trustee Sue Huff asked on her blog, if the outcome is school closure, is there ever a process that the community will support?

Here is a copy of the administration recommendation that passed unanimously this evening.


That after the Board articulates a set of principles to guide capital and accommodation 

planning, the Administration develop and implement a District infrastructure strategy

that identifies timelines and goals to provide high quality learning opportunities, respond

to community needs, address the deferred maintenance deficit, and right size district

space to efficiently meet short-term and long-term needs. That this recommendation replaces the motions approved on March 13, April 10, and September 11 2012.

This effectively means that no school closure recommendation will be coming forward from the administration in the 2012-2013 school year and instead the district will shift their attention to developing a long-term plan that they can bring back to the board in the new year.

I’ll post more thoughts on this at a later time, but right now I would urge you to check out the moratorium committee reports, the work the board has been doing in this area, and my previous writings on this subject. You can click here or search by tags on the right hand side of the page.

Community Gathering to strategize about schools in mature neighbourhoods:

Are School Trustees Urban Planners? -

To fully examine the work we are doing to try and support schools, and our growing infrastructure pressures,  please take a few minutes and read the research done through our school closure moratorium committee process. To see the information reports on the causes of closures, check out presentations on:

By administration numbers, our infrastructure costs outpace our revenues by $34.4 Million. Those costs are then paid for out of our operational budget (classroom dollars.) In some cases, there are very good reasons to do this (For example, keeping a small school open serving a high-needs population, or maintaining our commitment to choice in an area with limited educational opportunities.)

Plant Operation and Maintenance

Annual revenue $66.0 million & IMR funding $14.5 = Total $80.5 Million

2010/11 audited costs

Custodial $37.9 + Maintenance $25.2 +Utilities $24.3 + IMR 12.3 + Facilities Admin $9.6 + Amortization $5.0 = Total $114.3 Million

Supporting active transportation and Edmonton Public Schools

Last night the board voted to support moving forward with promoting active transportation initiatives for our schools.

I moved a motion to support active transportation based on the responses I have heard from parents and community members. Student health and wellness continues to be a priority for our board and I look forward to seeing more work in this area moving forward.

For more information on the research supporting active transportation, check out:

Progress in this area requires the support of many partners. I hope that other levels of government will increase their commitment in this area moving forward.

September 26, 2012

Board encourages active transportation plans for all schools

Yesterday, the Edmonton Public Schools Board of Trustees called on all schools to have active transportation plans in schools, supporting safe and healthy transportation options for students.  This decision reflects Edmonton Public Schools’ commitment to promote health and wellness for all students and staff.

Active transportation refers to any form of self-propelled (i.e., non-motorized) mode of transportation that uses human energy, such as walking and cycling. These modes may also be combined with public transit for trips to and from school, work and other community facilities.

Active transportation plans have several benefits, including, but not limited to, improved safety of all students travelling to and from school, more students walking and/or cycling to and from school, reduction in car volume, congestion and traffic concerns around schools.  Thirteen schools in the District already have formal active transportation plans in place.

“Our Board encourages school communities to come together to find ways to support student health and wellness,” says Board Chair Sarah Hoffman. “We are committed to providing schools with information on how they can develop and sustain active transportation plans.”

- 30 -

For further information, call our media relations line at:


Board Duties for the 2012-2013 Year

Last night was the first board meeting of the 2012/2013 school year. I was honoured to be acclaimed EPSB Vice-Chair by my colleagues.

As Vice-Chair, when our new Board Chair, Trustee Sarah Hoffman, is unavailable for board business, it is my job to step forward and support the district. Trustee Heather Mackenzie will replace me as chair of the Conference Committee, a position I held for the last two years.

I will also be serving the district through work with the Alberta School Boards’ Association and the Public School Boards Association of Alberta. I will also be serving on our Advocacy and Audit Committees.

It is interesting to note that the three chairs are under 35 years old. I just turned 28, Conference Chair Mackenzie is turning 30, and Chair Hoffman is 32.

There is much on the agenda, and I look forward to the year ahead.

Ward F Pool Party 2012: Saturday October 6th, Scona Pool

I’m excited to announce our second annual back to school Ward F Pool Party!

1030-1230, Saturday October 6th. Scona Pool.

Click here to download the invitation: Oct6WardFPoolPartyInvite2012

Online voting has exciting potential for civic engagement in #yeg

Will online voting be a positive civic engagement tool?

The City of Edmonton is evaluating the feasibility of implementing online voting for the October 21st 2013 Municipal Election.

I think this is exciting news, and could significantly impact voter turnout and civic engagement.

Online voting has, and continues to work at the University of Alberta. When I was President of the Student’s Union, we initiated online voting at the University of Alberta for our undergraduate election which engaged over 30 000 undergraduate students. This practice has been deemed successful and has been continued on campus, but the traditional polling stations have been preserved for those not comfortable with the digital options provided.

As a techno-geek, I’m thrilled that we are finally getting around to accepting a new technology. We trust our banking and our billing to our cell phones. We live, work, and play online. We date online. This is a logical and timely evolution.

As a citizen, I’m excited to hear about a new opportunity to engage more young adults, those with limited physical mobility, students, and non-voters. People may still choose not to vote, but at least we are doing what we can to provide opportunities.

As a Trustee I represent neighbourhoods with significant numbers of Edmontonians who are renters, students, or first-time voters and they don’t always know how to register to vote or where there polling station is. Online voting will make it easier for them to participate in the decision making process.

I can think of hundreds of situations where my team was trying to connect residents to their closest polling station or shuttling voters urgently before the polls closed.

As a Trustee candidate, I would welcome online voting. Through my involvement in campus election campaigns I had the chance to try new campaign tactics and strategies to reach voters and get out our campaign message. I found online voting assisted me in reaching voters who were off campus, out of town, or on a different class schedule. Candidates in future elections will need to factor online voting into their strategic considerations.

Online voting might require adjustments and it might take time, but in the end it will enable greater democratic participation. If the U of A Students’ Union could make online voting work on a large campus, I’m confident that the Elections Office can do so for Edmonton.

I hope this pilot-project helps us learn our way forward and inspires our Provincial and Federal counterparts to take similar steps in the future.

The Top 10 Things I Loved About Working for the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues and Why You Should Apply for My Job…

Michael Janz, Marketing Director, EFCL - Photo c/o Metro Edmonton

For the past three and half years I have been privileged to have one of the coolest jobs in Edmonton.

As many of you know, in addition to being the Ward F Edmonton Public School Trustee, I’ve been employed as the Marketing Director for the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues (EFCL).

Sadly, as of August 31st 2012, I will be leaving the EFCL.

If you are looking for purposeful, flexible work that has you doing real projects to make our city better, I urge you to apply for this job.

I’ve been paid to encourage neighbours getting to know their neighbours and to increase building their capacity to make cool things happen in their neighbourhoods. It’s an extrovert’s dream job! Pinch me, right?

My role included teaching volunteers skills, connecting them with services, planning events and parties, and much more. I’ve had a fantastic team of coworkers, a switched-on EFCL board team, and the opportunity to work with thousands of volunteers from every neighbourhood in Edmonton.

For someone who wasn’t born in Edmonton, this job has made me feel like I know the city inside-out, and that I’ve lived here since the 1911 construction of the High Level Bridge.

What’s next for me? After much deliberation with my wife, we’ve made the decision that it’s time for me to pursue graduate school on a full-time basis, increase my focus on my EPSB Trustee duties, keep up my volunteering (Edmonton Public Library Board and University of Alberta Alumni Council) and, in the spring, get ready for school board re-election – October 23rd, 2013. If there is time, I might pursue some consulting work, and if the right project comes along, I’m always looking for ways to get involved.

So can I preach it like I feel it?

In no particular order, here are my TOP TEN favorite memories of working for Edmonton Community Leagues…

1. Co-creating Community League Day with the EFCL team:

“Hey guys! What if we hosted a block party or festival in every Edmonton neighbourhood on the same day? What if we did it every year on the third Saturday of September?”

That’s how Community League Day was born. 90 Leagues participated the first year. 100 the second. This year over 110 are expected to participate. If the popularity keeps growing, a decade from now Community League Day will be one of Edmonton’s marquis events like the Fringe of the Heritage Festival.

I visited a dozen events each year and was honored to have helped organize such a crazy festival — including our ridiculous media stunts like the Worlds Largest Quilt or the City Council Croquet Game!

2. Working with partner organizations who support Edmonton:

The numerous partner organizations I’ve had the privilege of working with have been amazing. Sponsorship and partnerships were a key part of my role and I couldn’t have met an easier, more like-minded group to work with.

I owe a special shout-out to the good folks at the Office of Great Neighbourhoods and Community Services, especially Stephane Labonne and Kathy Barnhart who have helped us launch a few really innovative initiatives.

Our corporate partners really stepped up. It’s been a pleasure working with Jon Hall with the Edmonton Real Estate Board, Cheryl Kaziuk with Servus Credit Union, Jason Bossert with FPB, and the whole Edmonton Examiner team. These folks really know how important it is to build strong relationships with Edmonton neighbourhoods.

Within the non-profit sector, I’d like to throw a big thank you to Leslie Evans and the team at the Federation of Calgary Communities, Russ Dahms at the Edmonton Chamber of Voluntary Organizations and Karen Lynch at Volunteer Alberta for their mentorship and guidance.

3. The Edmonton Next Gen Committee and the Edmonton Community Challenge:

From the first gathering at Orange Hall, to allowing me speak at Pecha Kucha night #5 to the Edmonton Community Challenge 2010, 2011 and the (ongoing) 2012, it’s been a riot!

On behalf of marketing people and non-profits everywhere, thanks for always pushing our events through your fantastic newsletter.

The City of Edmonton Next Generation team has been a fantastic help in our efforts to recruit more “Under 40″ year old Edmontonians to community leagues. The whole team has been amazing, in particular Tegan, Sherman, Michelle, and Christine have been fantastic and I really appreciate your help and energy.

4. The New Kids On Your Block Outreach Parties of May 2012:

My job couldn’t have been cooler! I was paid to throw parties with local musicians and DJs, food, Alley Kat beer, and entertainment in order to recruit more young adults to community leagues.

I hope that these events inspire many more neighbourhood folk festivals, parties, and community gardens in future!

5. The staff and board members of the EFCL:

I’ve appreciated the collaboration and support of the EFCL Board and Staff team, especially Allan Bolstad who has been an amazing mentor and friend. We’ve shared so many lunches, and at every opportunity I’ve tried to soak up as much of his political and journalistic lectures– plus we’ve had many laughs along the way.

And I’ll really miss the team! Every single initiative on this list was done collaboratively. No matter the project, all hands were available to help.

Valerie is a communications wizard. Linda is a money magician. Andrea is the captain of conflict resolution. Bev takes living local to heart. Shahriyar lives the cultural outreach and integration gospel. Joanne is the office mother who never misses an opportunity to remind me what’s important in life: good wine and a happy wife.

What a wonderful workplace!

6. Never the same day twice! Other-duties-as-required:

One of the highlights of the non-profit sector is the do-it-yourself attitude. We know that we have a lot to do, but little money to do it with.

“Can you find us a new neon sign? Can you find us a few talented summer students? Do you want to go for a midnight ride with the Mill Woods Community Patrol? Can you teach these workshops? Build a parade float? Apply for grants? Write articles? Can you help us develop a multi-million dollar fundraising strategy for our centenial projects?”

The EFCL has its hands in everything in Edmonton. If you are keen, it’s a tremendous learning opportunity.

7. Three years of the Heritage Festival:

Jack Little and his volunteers throw a heck of a party!

Organizing a community league presence at the Heritage Festival was an amazing chance to get out of the office. Footballs! Volunteers! It’s community league rush week! Not only did we sign up thousands of new emails for our e-news newsletter, we spread the word to everyone in the park about the cool things Edmonton neighbourhoods are doing!

8. Organizing the Community League Tradeshow:

Having the opportunity to organize and execute the EFCL Tradeshow 2010 and 2011 was a great opporunity to connect our volunteers with amazing businesses and services that they needed. For those of you looking to learn and grow, you won’t want to miss the Leagues Alive 2012 Conference and Tradeshow coming up on November 3rd.

9. Strategic planning, the Living Local Campaign and the 2011 Living Local Summit:

What should Edmonton look like in 20 years? What will neighbourhoods look like? How can we revitalize our communities, promote active transportation and reduce traffic? How can we develop great neighbourhoods where  people feel good about where they live?

These questions and many others fueled the construction of the EFCL Business Plan and the organization of the October 2011 Living Local Summit. Having the opportunity to work and think long-term about the direction of our communities– and then take tangible steps to make that vision a reality, was an incredibly rewarding experience.

10. The friendly people of Edmonton:

In a mere 4 years, I’ve met over 3000 hard-working Edmontonians from over 154 neighbourhoods. They selflessly chip away planning events, publishing newsletters, and making life better for their neighbours. Their labours make their communities stronger and safer for years to come.

Almost everyone I meet had some involvement at some point with their own local community league. Maybe it was coaching a sports team. Maybe it was as an attendee at a party. There is truly something special about the legacy of volunteerism in Edmonton that is happening all around us in our own neighbourhoods.

As Ron Kuban’s book recorded, Edmonton is a city of urban villages and no two neighbourhoods are alike! Edmonton Stories recently did a feature on the EFCL and community leagues captured here:

It’s been such a special opportunity, both for my personal and professional development. As you can tell, I remain passionate about the work and the organization.

The job description will be posted this week on

Check it out, and please pass it along to exceptional candidates in your network.

Employment Opportunity

Director of Marketing

Job Description:

The primary responsibility of the marketing director will be to help raise funds for EFCL programs and operations.  The director will also be asked to help with development of the EFCL market brand, promotions and updates to the business plan. Finally, the individual will be invited to take part and help manage other EFCL programs, depending on the interests and abilities of the candidate.

Fundraising Duties:

a)     Help raise funds for the EFCL’s 100th Anniversary Project, a $2 million (plus or minus) upgrade to Hawrelak Park.

b)    Solicitation of vendors and management of annual EFCL trade show.

c)     Solicitation of sponsors and management of annual Community League Day promotion.

d)    Solicitation of EFCL sponsorships and management of existing accounts.

e)     Apply for grants from various orders of government and foundations.

Knowledge and Experience:

a)     Fundraising experience, including government grants, corporate sponsorships, designing donor recognition programs.

b)    Proven success in relationship building, excellent interpersonal, written and oral communication skills.

c)     Computer proficiency using MS Office Applications (Word, Excel, Power Point, Outlook).

d)    Positive, enthusiastic attitude and an ability to work independently and as part of a team.

e)     Understanding of non-profit environment and community league system.

f)     Valid driver’s license.

Salary/Hours of Work:

- $45,000 per year, plus benefits and performance based incentives.

- Flexible work hours/75 bi-weekly.

Closing Date:

Friday, Aug. 17, 2012.

How to Apply:

Please send covering letter, resume and the names of three references to Allan Bolstad, Executive Director, Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues, at


For more information, check out: