There are seven candidates vying for six two-year member-at-large positions on the MTS provincial executive. The vote will take place at the MTS Provincial Council AGM on May 28, 2022.

The candidates are:

  • Chris Darazsi, River East Transcona Teachers’ Association, Member-at-Large
  • Jay Ewert, Evergreen Teachers’ Association, Member-at-Large
  • Kristen Fallis, Winnipeg Teachers’ Association, Member-at-Large
  • Cathy Pellizzaro, Thompson Teachers’ Association, Member-at-Large
  • Cathy Pleskach, Interlake Teachers’ Association, Member-at-Large
  • Joel Swaan, Garden Valley Teachers’ Association, Member-at-Large
  • Sandy Turcotte, Seine River Teachers’ Association, Member-at-Large

Chris Darazsi, River East Transcona Teachers’ Association

Chris began his teaching career in 1999 as the itinerant band teacher in Flin Flon, before moving back to Winnipeg where he taught in the St. Vital (Louis Riel) School Division before heading over to River East Transcona in 2005.

After 17 years teaching in French Immersion schools, Chris has spent the last six years working full time for members of the River East Transcona Teachers’ Association (RETTA), currently serving as president. During these last six years he has gained considerable experience that includes collective bargaining, professional development, resolutions, public relations, Workplace Safety & Health, and regular liaison meetings with school board trustees and the superintendents team.

Chris is also proud to have served members as a member at large on the MTS Provincial Executive in many capacities:

  • Chair, Collective Bargaining Standing Committee (2021-22)
  • Member, Provincial Bargaining Committee (2021-22)
  • Member, Audit Committee (2020-22)
  • Member, Support Staff Negotiations Committee (2018-19 and 2021-22)
  • Member, Land Acknowledgement Ad Hoc Committee (2022)
  • Member, Political Action Committee (2019-22)
  • Chair, Workplace Safety & Health Standing Committee (2020-21)
  • Chair, Disability Benefits Plan Committee (2018-20)
  • Member, Disability Benefits Plan Investments Committee (2018-20)
  • Member, Human Resources Committee (2018-20)

Chris is also an active blood donor with 150+ donations to date and is also an advocate for animal rescues in Manitoba. He currently lives in North Kildonan with his partner Joanne, step-daughter Veronica, two rescue dogs Norman and Zoey, and a large cat. He is grateful for the unwavering support of his family, friends and colleagues.

Candidates’ election statements and bio can be viewed here


Jay Ewert, Evergreen Teachers’ Association

Jay Ewert has taught in Evergreen School Division for the past 13 years; nine of which have been spent serving with the Evergreen Teachers’ Association as the Collective Bargaining chair (seven years) and Local president (past two years). He has taught at many levels ranging from early year to high school. Jay currently enjoys teaching Grades 7 and 8 full-time at Arborg Early Middle School.  In a sentence, Jay likes to describe teaching as, “helping people to help themselves,” as teaching is a profession of positive enabling for self-advocacy.  Jay’s passion for motivating and encouraging young people has been evident in his work with student groups based around social justice such as the Social Justice League and the Students Against Plastic.

As an active member in the ETA, Jay has found a passion for his work with MTS and has been honoured to find additional ways to serve through his work as a member of the Labour School (labour relations and leadership) program, regional coordinator for the CB chairs of the Lakewood region, and three years serving on the CBSC.  These opportunities have served to not only prepare, but to further motivate him to face the challenges ahead.

Jay currently resides in the Interlake with his family where he strives to connect and support his Local to raise rural engagement within the Society.  In his spare time, he loves camping with his family, performing music, distance running, and building in his workshop.

Candidates’ election statements and bio can be viewed here


Kristen Fallis, Winnipeg Teachers’ Association

Kristen Fallis has been an educator for 17 years and is currently the vice president of the Winnipeg Teachers’ Association and has completed her first term on the MTS Provincial Executive. She has experience at all levels of education as a music specialist and classroom teacher. Kristen holds a Master of Education degree in Social Foundations, with a focus on Indigenous education.

As a member at large for Provincial Executive, Kristen has worked on behalf of members for two years as the chair of Disability Benefits Plan and member of the Disability Benefits Plan Investment Committee. As vice president of the WTA, her portfolio includes chair of the Negotiations Committee, co-chair of the Joint Divisional Workplace Safety & Health Committee, and chair of Public Relations. Kristen has been actively involved in her local for seven years as a table officer, member-at-large, and chair and member of a variety of committees.

Before serving as vice president of Winnipeg Teachers’ Association, Kristen taught K-9 music in the West End of Winnipeg. She enjoyed bringing music into children’s lives and having fun in the classroom.

Kristen began her teaching career in rural Manitoba and spent a year working abroad in England, enjoying the ability to teach and travel. She now takes pleasure in travelling with her family, enjoying performances in Winnipeg’s vibrant arts scene, and staying active through running.

Candidates’ election statements and bio can be viewed here


Cathy Pellizzaro, Thompson Teachers’ Association

Cathy is in her third decade of dedicated service to the Society. Throughout her career, Cathy has served locally as president, vice-president, Equity and Social Justice chair, Benefits chair, Equality in Education chair and on the bargaining team.

As an elected member of Provincial Executive, Cathy served as chair of the Equity and Social Justice Committee and Young Humanitarian Awards Committee, member of the Provincial Bargaining Committee and liaison with the Newcomer Education Coalition, Educators of Colour Network and the CMHR Anti-Racism Committee. She also served as regional liaison to both the Parkland and Metro regions. Both locally and provincially, Cathy continues to bring teachers, students, and the greater community together to affect positive change.

Cathy possesses the Certificate of Achievement in Foundations of Trust Management Standards (FTMS) as well as the Advanced Trust Management Standards (ATMSA) certificate. Her knowledge and understanding of governance ensure her decisions are always of a high standard and always in the best interest of all members.

Cathy teaches early literacy intervention with the School District of Mystery Lake in Thompson. She has taught Kindergarten to Grade Five and Reading Recovery. She holds a Master of Education in Literacy. She shares her knowledge through presentations on literacy strategies and ideas which teachers can use. She has co-authored five workbooks focusing on literacy and math skills.

Cathy enjoys travelling, meeting people, and spending her spare time as the Thompson General Hospital gift shop manager.

Cathy finds working for members to be truly rewarding.

Candidates’ election statements and bio can be viewed here


Cathy Pleskach, Interlake Teachers’ Association

Cathy Pleskach is honoured to be nominated for a member at large position on the Provincial Executive. She has been a teacher at Warren Collegiate of the Interlake School Division for 25 years. Her teaching experience includes all levels of math, physics and chemistry, as well as business, drama and dance. Cathy has volunteered her time coaching boys and girls varsity basketball for 25 years, and alumni of the Wildcats Basketball program consider her more family than mentor or coach.

Cathy hails from Beausejour and graduated from the University of Manitoba Faculty of Education. She participated in the ISD Admin Internship Program and received her Post-Baccalaureate focusing on special education.

As a member of the Interlake Teachers’ Association, Cathy has been a school rep, treasurer (2010-2015), vice-president (2015-2018), and is currently in her fourth year as president. Cathy has been in on the ground work of several committees, including the ITA/ISD Joint Advisory Committee on Teacher Workload, Action, Liaison and Workplace Safety & Health Committees and is co-developing ISD’s WSH employee information campaign.

Provincially, Cathy is an experienced voice and advocate for members and Locals. Her participation includes Presidents’ Council Planning Committee, presiding officer of Provincial Bargaining Seminar, WEL conference, MFL delegate, and she is currently on the Life and Honourary Membership Standing Committee.

In her spare time Cathy has volunteered with local performing arts groups as both a performer and director and has been on the board of directors of a consulting firm for the last 18 years.

Candidates’ election statements and bio can be viewed here


Joel Swaan, Garden Valley Teachers’ Association

Joel taught for Saskatoon Public, Saskatoon Catholic, and Garden Valley School Divisions. A graduate of University of Saskatchewan (B.Ed., B.Mus.Mus.Ed.) and University of New Brunswick (M.Ed.), he holds a Certificate in School Leadership. Joel has mostly taught K-8: primary music, middle years band and French, and 5-8 homeroom; also working as a substitute teacher and acting principal.

Union-involved from the beginning, Joel has been a teacher on strike and work-to-rule in Saskatchewan, experiences unique within the Manitoba context. He pioneered Interest-Based Negotiations with Saskatoon Public, successfully negotiated for equal preparation time for all K-12 teachers, and initiated STF’s study regarding increasing the number of male-identifying teachers in primary classrooms.

Joel and Sherie moved to Morden 11 years ago and have three precocious children: Huxley (8) and Finian (5) attend French Immersion in Western School Division, and Ivy (2); a dog and two cats round out the family. Joel has been a proud union member of Canadian Actors’ Equity, served on the boards of two non-profit theatre companies, and was a Big Brother for seven years.

The Manitoba Teachers’ Society

  • Provincial Collective Bargaining Committee chair
  • Disability Benefits Plan Investment Committee chair
  • Human Resources Committee
  • Collective Bargaining Standing Committee Regional Representative
  • Alternative Resolution Debate Ad Hoc Standing Committee

Canadian Teachers’ Federation

  • Trustee of the CTF/FCE Trust Fund

Garden Valley Teachers’ Association

  • Past-president
  • President
  • Vice-president
  • Collective Bargaining chair
  • Education Finance chair
  • Equity & Social Justice chair
  • Professional Development Committee
  • Workplace Safety & Health Committee

Saskatoon Teachers’ Association

  • Local Implementation and Negotiation Committee (Bargaining) chair

Candidates’ election statements and bio can be viewed here


Sandy Turcotte, Seine River Teachers’ Association

Sandy Rodrigues Turcotte has been an educator for 28 years. Presently, Sandy works for the Seine River School Division as the Indigenous Education consultant. She has worked as an educational leader and K-12 teacher in several schools in both urban and rural communities.

Sandy Rodrigues Turcotte holds a Master’s degree, Special Education, Brandon University; Post Baccalaureate in Education, Numeracy Enhancement, University of Winnipeg; B.Ed., University of Manitoba. She holds Level I & II Manitoba Administrative Certificates and works in English and French Immersion streams.

Sandy Rodrigues Turcotte is a dedicated mother of her 15-year-old son. She enjoys travelling, music, learning, and creating wonderful food to share with family and friends. She is passionate about wellness both personally and professionally for all educators and youth.

The Manitoba Teachers’ Society & Seine River Teachers’ Association Involvement:

  • Seine River Teachers’ Association president, Public Relations chair, Resolutions chair, vice-president and treasurer
  • SRTA Collective Bargaining Committee/Table team
  • Currently Equity & Social Justice Standing Committee member and regional facilitator
  • Provincial Executive member at large
  • Professional Development Standing Committee – chair
  • MTS 100th Anniversary Planning Committee
  • Special Area Groups of Educators Council – chair
  • Curriculum and Teaching Standing Committee – chair
  • Inter-Organizational Curriculum Advisory Committee
  • Disability Benefits Plan Investment Committee
  • Professional Code of Conduct Review Committee
  • Council of School Leaders – Leadership team, director, delegate
  • Canadian Association of Principals board member
  • Canadian Association of Principals 2020 Winnipeg Conference Planning Committee
  • MAUDeL board of directors

Candidates’ election statements and bio can be viewed here