Candidates for MTS Provincial Executive

The top jobs on the MTS provincial executive will go uncontested this year. The March 1 deadline for nominations having passed, James Bedford and Nathan Martindale have been acclaimed for a further two-year term (2021-23) for the positions of president and vice president respectively.

There is competition on the members-at-large front, however, with six candidates vying for five two-year member-at-large positions on the executive. The vote will take place at the MTS Provincial Council AGM on May 15, 2021.

The candidates are:

  • Sonja Blank, Mountain View Teachers’ Association, Member-at-Large
  • Carla Bouchard, Pembina Trails Teachers’ Association, Member-at-Large
  • Lindsay Brown, Seven Oaks Teachers’ Association, Member-at-Large
  • Kent McPherson, St. James-Assiniboia Teachers’ Association, Member-at-Large
  • Cynthia Taylor, Louis Riel Teachers’ Association, Member-at-Large
  • Jonathan Waite, Seine River Teachers’ Association, Member-at-Large

Sonja Blank, Mountain View Teachers’ Association

Sonja currently teaches grade 5 in Dauphin where she considers herself a visitor on Treaty 2 territory. Sonja is the collective bargaining chair for the Mountain View TA. Throughout her involvement with MVTA she has acted as local education finance chair, resolutions chair, vice-president, employee benefits chair and workplace, safety and health school representative. Sonja has served on the MTS Ed. Finance Standing Committee, the Teacher Education and Certification Committee, and as member-at-large of the Provincial Executive over the last two years was chair of IVASC, YHA and a member of the Political Action Committee of the Society.

Sonja serves on the Indigenous Education Steering Committee in her division, where she advocates for indigenous perspectives, truth and reconciliation.

Among other issues, Sonja advocates on matters of:

  • teacher workload,
  • teacher and student mental health,
  • 2STLGBQIA+ rights for students and staff,
  • equity issues affecting rural school divisions and local autonomy
  • effects of poverty on student learning
  • obligation of the government of Manitoba to engage in dialogue and democratic discourse with MTS amongst others.

Born and raised in Germany, Sonja immigrated to Canada at the age of 18, where she had spent a year traveling and falling in love with the prairies. She completed her teaching certificate in Winnipeg in 1999 and attained her post-baccalaureate degree in 2014. Sonja is a proud educator with a passion for learning and teaching. She particularly enjoys studying history, politics, languages, and walking her three dogs.

Candidates’ election statements can be viewed here

Carla Bouchard, Pembina Trails Teachers’ Association

Carla Bouchard has been a teacher in the Pembina Trails School Division (PTTA) for 16 years. She has experience at the early, middle, and senior years levels, as a classroom teacher and as a resource teacher. She has a Post Baccalaureate in Special Education, a Level 1 Administrator Certificate, and a Special Education Coordinator Certificate. Carla is a passionate advocate for students with disabilities transitioning successfully into adulthood, for anti-racist education in the classroom, and for supporting students struggling with poverty.

First elected as a member-at-large of the Provincial Executive in 2019, Carla has worked on behalf of members for the last two years in the following ways:

  • Delegate of the Canadian Teachers’ Federation to the Education International (EI) 8th World Congress
  • Canadian Teachers’ Federation Committee
  • Teacher Education and Certification Committee
  • MTS Administrative Staff Bargaining Committee
  • Provincial Evaluations Committee
  • Employee Assistance Plan (EAP) Focus Group
  • Human Resources Committee
  • MFL Feasibility Committee
  • Delegate of Education International to the United Nations 65th Commission on the Status of Women
  • Certificate in Foundations of Trust Management Standards
  • Attendee at Canadian Association for the Practical Study of Law in Education

In addition, Carla has served at the local level in the following roles:

  • Treasurer 2017- 2020
  • Collective Bargaining Table Team- 2014-2015
  • Collective Bargaining Committee- 2012-2019

Carla is a parent to two school aged children who attend school in the Division scolaire frano-manitobaine and is a strong supporter of French language education in Manitoba.

Candidates’ election statements can be viewed here

Lindsay Brown, Seven Oaks Teachers’ Association

Lindsay began teaching on the South Shore of Montréal in 2006, leading the English secondary program at Collège Marie Laurier. Upon returning to Winnipeg, Lindsay secured their dream job at Maples Collegiate in the Seven Oaks School Division where they have taught English language arts, social studies, and film studies for 14 years.

Currently a member-at-large on the SOTA Executive, Lindsay has represented members for the past four years in a variety of capacities: co-chair of Education Finance; chair of Equity & Social Justice, Wellness, Member Engagement, Scholarship, and Women in Educational Leadership committees. Lindsay is currently a member of the ESJSC and the Comprehensive Sex and Health Education Ad Hoc Committee.

Lindsay holds a Master of Arts in Cultural Studies and a Post-Baccalaureate Diploma in Education (PBDE) from the University of Winnipeg, and currently works as a sessional instructor in the University of Winnipeg Faculty of Education’s undergraduate and PBDE programs.

One of Lindsay’s passions is facilitating staff professional development, particularly in the areas of DEI (diversity, equity, and inclusion) and 2STLGBQIA+ inclusive education. In their role as lead trainer with Diversity Essentials, Lindsay has led workshops for Presidents’ Council, at the Educating for ACTion Conference (2020), and at MTS Summer Seminar (2019). Lindsay is also the lead facilitator of QUESO (Queering Seven Oaks).

Lindsay loves to spend time with their friends, family, and partners. They enjoy doing CrossFit and when the weather allows it, you can usually find them in a hammock with their nose in a book.

Candidates’ election statements can be viewed here

Kent McPherson, St. James-Assiniboia Teachers’ Association

Kent was elected to his first term on the Provincial Executive in 2019.  Over the past two years, Kent has chaired the Ed Finance Standing Committee, served on the Audit Committee and been the liaison for the Southeast region.  This year he became a member of the Political Action Committee of the Provincial Executive.  Previous experience at the provincial level includes serving on the G.S. 40 Committee as well as the Ed Finance Standing Committee.  As a member of the Provincial Executive, he has taken the opportunity to expand his knowledge in governance by completing part “A” of the Advanced Trust Management Standards series.

Kent began serving his local association in 2003 and has served as president of the St. James-Assiniboia Teachers’ Association since 2017.  He has taken on various roles within the Association including member-at-large, treasurer and vice-president.  Within his local, Kent has received his Certificate of Achievement in Foundations of Trust Management Standards, chaired Ed Finance, WSH, Bargaining and Communications while also sitting on the St. James-Assiniboia Teachers’ Association (STJATA) PD Committee.  Transparency, openness and equity need to be cornerstones of the governance process, and Kent’s experience will help enable him to make informed, and uncompromised decisions on behalf of all members.

Kent is proud to make St. James his home.   Both his children attend school within the division and are enrolled in the French immersion program within St. James.  He is grateful for the continued support he receives from his family and colleagues.

Candidates’ election statements can be viewed here

Cynthia Taylor, Louis Riel Teachers’ Association

Cynthia began her teaching career twenty years ago in London, England. Upon return in 2002, Cynthia was hired by the Louis Riel School Division; the same division where she was born and raised. Cynthia has taught at the Senior Years levels in varied assignments that have included English Language Arts, Computer Science, Teacher Librarian, and her current assignment of Student Services teacher at Glenlawn Collegiate.

Cynthia has been a very active leader in the work of the Manitoba Teachers’ Society and the Louis Riel Teachers’ Association for the better part of the last decade. Cynthia served for five years on the Equity and Social Justice Standing Committee and three years on the Life and Honourary Membership Committee. Cynthia’s leadership skills are evident as she serves on the LRTA Executive as secretary/treasurer and on the Personal Professional Development Fund Committee.

Cynthia was elected to the Provincial Executive in 2017. She has been the chair of the Equity and Social Justice Standing Committee and is presently the chair of the Professional Development Standing Committee. She also serves as SAGE Council chair, Teacher Led Learning Team liaison (TLLT), liaison to Collaborative Learning Teams (CLT) as well as regional facilitator to the Lakewood region.

Cynthia believes in a Society that embraces and empowers its diverse membership. She is supported by her partner Christian and her two children Remy and Crosby who have shared their time to allow Cynthia to pursue those initiatives which promote advocacy and equity for all.

Candidates’ election statements can be viewed here

Jonathan Waite, Seine River Teachers’ Association

Jonathan is the technology education consultant in the Seine River School Division, where he supports staff and students in all aspects of information technology use. Currently in his twentieth year as a public educator in Manitoba, he has previously served as the president of the Seine River Teachers’ Association (2013-2019) and as a member-at-large of the MTS Provincial Executive (2015-2019).

For the past decade, Jonathan has chaired or served on many local and MTS committees. In his local, he is a Council representative and sits on the Collective Bargaining committee.  Provincially, he is a member of the MTS Workplace Safety and Health Standing Committee. While he was SRTA president, he helped plan and host the 2012 and 2019 MTS hockey tournaments, as well as the 2016 and 2018 MTS golf tournaments.

Jonathan serves on the Executive Committee of the Manitoba Association of Education Technology Leaders and is recognized as a Microsoft Innovative Educator Expert and Trainer (2020-2021).

A proud volunteer in his community, Jonathan is the vice-president of the Carillon Senior Hockey League. As the summer is fast approaching, Jonathan is eager to get back on the golf course or around a backyard fire pit.

Jonathan lives in La Broquerie with Jennifer, his amazing wife of 21 years who works as an educational assistant. He is the proud father of Rebekah, a 2021 graduate headed to university in the fall, and Hannah, who is completing grade 10. Fuzzball, the family dog, seems content to be part of the family.

Candidates’ election statements can be viewed here