Mike St. Amand recently took over CCSTA’s president position, conveying his trademark approachability mixed with his passion for advocacy of Catholic education.
St. Amand was elected president at CCSTA’s annual general meeting in June. He comes to the role fresh from a term as vice president of the national association. St. Amand brings a wealth of experience to the CCSTA table. In addition to being vice chairman of his local board in Prince Albert, and his years as a director on the Saskatchewan Catholic School Boards Association, St. Amand has also held seats on the executive of the provincial association as vice president, president, and past president.
“I always try to learn from the other people around the table as we all have many gifts and talents to share,” he said. “I also try to speak with many of the trustees from across Canada and understand their concerns and issues. I would consider myself very approachable and willing to listen and help where I am able.”
St. Amand said he believes advocacy is still the most important part of his role as president. “The first thing we need to do as Catholic trustees is stand together and talk about the many good things we are accomplishing,” he said. “This, along with open lines of communications sharing ideas across the country, will only make us stronger.”
A former CCSTA president and Higgins Award winner passed away last month.
Michael (Mike) van Adrichem, died in Prince George, BC on Sept. 28, one day before his 91st birthday. He was president of CCSTA in 1975-76 and was awarded the CCSTA’s Higgins Award in 1993 for outstanding contribution to Catholic education. For his impact on Catholic education and involvement in the Church, he also received the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice medal from Pope John Paul II, the highest medal that can be awarded to the laity.
John Stunt, executive director of CCSTA, said the association is saddened by the loss. “Mr. van Adrichem was known as a champion of Catholic education nationally, but especially in his home dioceses of Prince George and throughout British Columbia,” Stunt said. “We mourn his passing but also celebrate his many accomplishments.”
Fred Herfst became a close friend to van Adrichem in the mid-1980s. At that time, Herfst was the executive director of the Federation of Independent School Associations of British Columbia and van Adrichem was a board representative of the Catholic component of that coalition, while serving as the first superintendent of Catholic Independent Schools Diocese of Prince George.
Herfst said van Adrichem had rock solid convictions on fundamental principles, however, he was also exceptional at listening well and adjusting his thinking in political situations.
“He had the ability to work with people of divergent faith and bring everyone together as a functioning team,” Herfst said, noting van Adrichem’s leadership qualities were enhanced by remarkable social intuition and being connected to his community in Prince George.
It’s all in your hands.
That’s the poignant message delivered by an innovative campaign to boost awareness of the role of school trustees, while also aiming to increase voter engagement in the upcoming Ontario municipal election.
The campaign is a unique collaboration between four Ontario trustee associations, who share a goal of raising the profile of trustees, while also increasing awareness of existing strong leaders. The Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association, the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association, the Association des conseils scolaires des écoles publiques de l’Ontario, and the Association Franco-Ontarienne des Conseils Scolaires catholiques, are banding together to get their message heard.
Sharon McMillian, Co-ordinator of Communications and Media Relations for OCSTA, said this is the first province-wide effort on behalf of the trustee associations.
“This is the first time this type of resource has been made available with all four associations collaborating,” McMillan said. “The campaign is an opportunity to invite Ontarians to better understand how the system works.”