Greg Jeffery elected new ATA president

March 28, 2017
Cory Hare, ATA News Managing Editor

Jenny Regal and Jason Schilling win race for vice-president

Greg Jeffery will be the next president of the Alberta Teachers’ Association following an online vote that concluded on Monday, March 20.

Jeffery, currently a vice-president, won with 2,809 votes. Robert Twerdoclib, the other current vice-president, came in second with 2,437 votes. Kelly Maroney rounded out the voting with 1,496.

“I’m really excited to have the opportunity to continue to work with Alberta teachers,” Jeffery said. “It’s something I’ve done my entire career and I really look forward to carrying on in a new position.”

Jeffery first got involved in the Association by joining his local executive in 1989, his first year of teaching. He was local president for four years, including 2002, when his and several locals across the province went on strike. He then served as district representative for 10 years and vice-president for another four.

Jeffery said his presidential campaign was based on a message of increased professionalism for teachers in Alberta.

“I believe that will be a protection if we’re looking at a Jason Kenney-led government in 2019,” he said. “The more professional our organization is, the better we’ll be able to withstand an attack on public sector unions.”

Current president Mark Ramsankar said Jeffery has always worked diligently on behalf of Alberta teachers in any of the positions that he’s held.

“He’s been in the thick of the very difficult fights that we’ve had with government and he’s always shown very well on behalf of Alberta teachers,” Ramsankar said. “I think he’ll be a great voice in the coming years.”

New VPs

The two vice-presidential vacancies will be filled by Jenny Regal and Jason Schilling, who won in a five-way race.

“I’m excited and thrilled that the teachers of Alberta have supported me on this,” said Regal, who has been a Calgary City district representative for three years. She’s been actively involved in Calgary Public Teachers Local No. 38 business for more than two decades. Among the positions she’s held are Economic Policy Committee chair, local vice-president and local president.

“I’m looking forward to some challenging work in the next two years and I know that we’ve got a great team that’s been put together,” she said. “I’m looking forward to working with everyone on the new council.”

Schilling has been South West district representative for the past eight years and was president of Palliser Local No. 19 the previous six. He said he’s excited to begin the next phase.

“To me, advocacy work is important work — it’s a huge part of my career,” he said. “I’m excited to be able to continue the work on [it] but in a different role and capacity.”

There were races for district representative in four geographic districts. In Calgary City, newcomer Kent Kinsman was elected along with incumbents Heide Doppmeier and Kathy Hoehn. In Central, incumbent Jere Geiger retained his seat. In Edmonton McMurray, newcomer Nancy Ball won along with incumbents Darrin Bauer and Markiana Cyncar-Hryschuk. In the North West district, newcomer Peter MacKay is the winner.

In addition to the contested seats, six members of council were elected by acclamation, including Don Brookwell (Central South), Paul Froese (Edmonton District), Heather McCaig (South East), Katherine Pritchard (South West),
Michelle Glavine (Calgary District) and Elaine Willette-Larsen (Central East). A byelection will be held in Central North to fill the vacancy remaining there after nominations closed in January.

Council terms begin July 1 and run for two years.

Jeffery said he likes the look of the new council and will be pleased to help educate the new members.

“I’m looking forward to it. I’m a team builder,” he said. “I believe we can be a very cohesive team going forward to make things better for teachers in Alberta.”

Ramsankar, who will remain on council as pastpresident, said all the candidates have earned the respect of Alberta teachers by running.

“My congratulations and respect go out to all candidates who put their name forward because I know how tough that is.”

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2017–19 Provincial Executive Council