Excellence in education through exceptional school board governance

Winter Leadership Academy 2018


The ASBA 2018 Winter Leadership Academy took place at the DoubleTree Hotel in Edmonton, on January 15 and 16, 2018. The event drew in a crowd of 150 excited and enthusiastic people including delegates from 37 ASBA member boards, a total of 10 presenters and all members of the ASBA Indigenous Advisory Circle.

Amongst our presenters, we had the privilege and honour of hosting a keynote address and a special session for Board Chairs by Jim Brown, the best-selling author of the Imperfect Board Member. Every participant also received a copy of his book as part of registration.

Catrin Owen, CEO of Calder Bateman led a presentation on media relations and one on community engagement, while Tannis Topolnisky led the IAP2, Public Participation for Decision makers workshop, which yielded a certification for those who registered and attended.

The Indigenous Advisory Circle held a round-table conversation session, including a smudging ceremony, as well as a well-attended session on Indigenous governance. ASBA staff, and legal and education consultants alike held the remainder of all sessions on relevant and salient topics for trustee governance.

Many took part in the video session during which trustees were asked fundamental questions about governance and their personal experiences, and even more took advantage of the professional photography session held on day two. ASBA will share these both soon. Stay tuned!

Key messages from the academy

Below are key statements, comments and reflections gathered from the sessions. All delegates got full access to all presentation materials used during the academy. For specific content, refer to your delegate package and the USB stick that was provided to all in attendance.

“Direct and Protect”

Jim Brown guided us through these two simple words as the essence of the definition of board trusteeship. He also stressed the importance of the unidirectionality of the communication lines between owners, the board, the superintendent, staff and customers, both from top-down and bottom-up.

Guiding Principles of Public Engagement and Participation

Catrin Owen as well as Tannis Topolniski focused on fundamental principles of public engagement, including: emphasis on local ownership, describing a process for challenging decisions, creativity, creating welcoming opportunity for engagement, transparency and honesty.

“The difference is in the question!”

A reflective and enlightening moment came from the Indigenous Governance session. In the session, two members of the ASBA Indigenous Advisory Circle offered a key difference between western and Indigenous approaches and perspectives to law. The former asks: “Who is wrong and who is right?” While the latter asks: “What is wrong and what is right?” This fundamental difference led to explorations of experiences and views on Indigenous governance during the session. This sparked a very important conversation ASBA will continue to have during upcoming initiatives, and with the support of the Indigenous Advisory Circle.

Simple rules

Becky Kallal, ASBA Parliamentarian held two very successful, lighthearted and truly informative sessions on parliamentary procedures. During her session, Becky assisted participants in understanding the rules of conduct needed to set acceptable behaviours during meetings, and rules of procedure, needed to get business done. ASBA is excited to announce Becky will offer both repeat and new sessions at the Summer Leadership Academy 2018.

Activity follow-ups

Use links below for important follows ups on activities and tasks from the academy, as well as to access photos and clips from key moments of the event.

Professional photography

If you took your photos at the Winter Leadership Academy, we will soon send you an individual email with your personal shots. You can do as you wish with your own photos. For questions contact Noreen Pownall.

Short videos

If you recorded one of the suggested questions about being a school board trustee, we will soon place a montage of responses through a video-carousel on the ASBA website. The specific footage of your own contribution will also be placed on a folder for your personal access. For more information contact Valeria Palladino.

Some photo highlights

See some photos of the sessions and moments at the Winter Leadership Academy.

See you in August!

We hope you had a great experience and plan to be with us for part two of the academy in Canmore, August 24, 25, 2018. More information here.