May 24th, 2024

Carmen Mombourquette: Former principal looking to be a voice on Holy Spirit school board


By Al Beeber on July 14, 2021.

Carmen Mombourquette

LETHBRIDGE HERALDabeeber@lethbridgeherald.com

He’s spent the majority of his educational career working within the Catholic school system and now Carmen Mombourquette is putting his experience to use in a different way by running for trustee of the Holy Spirit School Division.
Mombourquette spent 12 years as principal of Catholic Central High School and next June will be retiring from the University of Lethbridge where he’s worked for 12 years as an associate professor in the Faculty of Education.
Mombourquette says four things drew him to run for a trustee position, one of them being his desire to see that parents and the community have a bigger say in Catholic education in Alberta.
He also wants his voice to let teachers know they are respected and honoured in this province and he wants to see school leaders provided with the tools that will let them make a reality their visions for schools.
“Principals need to have a larger say in how schools are provided with budgets that meet the needs to provide quality education and also the freedom to be able to decide how those budget dollars are spent. We’ve got to put the decisions back in those buildings, he said this week.
Mombourquette said he also wants to use his influence on the school board to ensure all 94 recommendations made in the 2016 Truth and Reconciliation report, “particularly those that pertain directly to education,” are fully implemented.
“We need to go out of our way, particularly as Catholics, not necessarily to make amends for the past, but we have to ensure that we use all of our resources that are available to us now so that children who come from First Nation, Metis and Inuit homes are educated in a way that best meets their needs and their families needs,” he said.
Mombourquette said an evil – the lack of respect of human dignity – was involved in decision-making at residential schools.
“That started from government and government represents the people….what they did was evil and churches allowed that to happen. We can’t change the past but we can go out of our way as a school system that educates primarily in a western education perspective, by listening to the parents and extended community that comes from the Indigenous world. We can do a much better job as we move forward,” he said.
Mombourquette’ says with his impending retirement he is looking to devote more of his time to civic and service responsibilities.
At the U of L, through his work “I help to run the Master of Education in educational leadership and most of the folks who go through that program desire to be a school principal. So for 11 years of my life, I’ve had this really neat opportunity of really helping to develop the next level of school leaders in southern Alberta.”
Between his stints at the U of L and CCHS, Mombourquette worked In Toronto as headmaster of a private all-boys Catholic School before returning to Alberta.
“I have a deep desire to ensure that parent and community have an even larger say in what is happening with Catholic education in this province. Catholic schools have always maintained that parents are the primary educators of their children and I fundamentally believe that being the dad of a couple of girls. I think my wife and I had a deep interest in what those two girls were learning and how they were learning,” he said.
“And I think all parents share that interest but we sometimes have a difficult time putting into reality ‘how do you access that voice?’
“Part of what I would see it having an influence on is increasing that diversity as well as its depth.”
Also important to Mombourquette is how teachers are regarded in Alberta by the public.
“I fundamentally respect so deeply the work the teachers have done throughout this pandemic and really everything leading up the pandemic and what’s going to be necessary coming out of the pandemic. And then listening to some of the rumblings that seem to be coming out of Edmonton now with talk of salary rollbacks and perhaps to some degree, lessening the value of the teaching profession, I want to use my voice as a member of the board to ensure teachers know they are honoured, respected, trusted with the education of children,” he said.
He also has interest in the role of school leader.
“Simply because I’ve been working so closely with good school leaders and running the Masters in Education program at the U of L, specifically for our future education leaders, that the ability for them to be able to lead schools from a perspective of vision and then to be given the tools and the responsibility to be able to help actualize that vision, I think is a little bit lacking in what is happening in schools right now and I would like to be able to use an influence to ensure they have the responsibility but they also have the tools from which they can work to help schools see the needs of children in co-operation, of course with those extended members of the community – the parents, in particular, but the larger community as well.”

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