This year’s Public Education Award, to be presented by the ATA at the Annual Representative Assembly in Edmonton on the May long weekend, will be posthumously awarded to former MLA and education minister Gene Zwozdesky.
The award is offered occasionally to an individual or a group that has given outstanding support to public education in Alberta other than through teaching.
Zwozdesky was elected as a Liberal MLA in 1993 and joined the Progressive Conservatives in 1998. Zwozdesky held a number of cabinet posts over the years, including education in 2005. Although his time in the post was brief, he immediately focused on crucial relationship building between the ministry and the Alberta Teachers’ Association. Shortly after being named education minister, Zwozdesky spoke to the ATA News about the importance of the arts in education.
“It’s not only my own familiarity with the arts that drives my passion, but it is the proven research … that clearly substantiates how important the arts are to educating the whole child,” he said. “The arts teach children from a very young age to develop self-confidence and to express themselves … you’re not just regurgitating facts.”
Zwozdesky died on Jan. 6, 2019. His wife, Christine Zwozdesky, will be accepting the award on his behalf. ❚