|NDP education critic Sarah Hoffman
A familiar face will be keeping a close eye on the United Conservative Party’s approach to public education. As of May 13, Edmonton-Glenora MLA Sarah Hoffman is the education critic for the Alberta NDP in their new role as the official opposition party. Hoffman is no stranger to the Alberta legislature, having previously served for four years in Rachel Notley’s cabinet as health minister and deputy premier.
Hoffman comes from a legacy of educational professionals — her father was a principal and her mother an elementary teacher. The deep cuts to education during the 1990s were often a topic of heated discussion at home and piqued her interest in politics, according to a 2012 profile in Illuminate, a University of Alberta alumni publication.
Hoffman began her post-secondary education at Concordia University College, achieving a BA in religion and BSc in math. She then enrolled at the University of Alberta, completing a B.Ed. in secondary math and ultimately a master’s in education, specializing in educational policy studies.
It was there she met retired professor and former leader of the provincial NDP, Raj Pannu. At his recommendation, Hoffman decided to actively pursue politics and, following university, landed a job as research director for the Alberta New Democrat caucus.
Elected as a trustee to the Edmonton Public School Board in 2010, Hoffman assumed the role of vice-chair. In 2013, she was acclaimed to a second term on the board, where she held the role of chair until finally entering provincial politics in 2015.
During her tenure as health minister, Hoffman oversaw an increase to health-care funding, development of the Calgary Cancer Centre, banning of menthol tobacco products and a response to the province’s deadly fentanyl crisis.
Hoffman received a standing ovation from delegates after she addressed the 98th Annual Representative Assembly in 2015, where she affirmed the NDP’s commitment to inclusive education, adequate funding for enrollment growth and proper class size. ❚