By Dale Woodard on September 3, 2021.
As he throws his hat into the ring for public school board trustee, creating a safe space for students and teachers alike and allowing learning to thrive are key for Vic Mensch.
“I think students need to come first, students and staff,” said Mensch. “As a board, we will be responsible for staff and students and it’s up to us to provide safe places for all of our employees to be there and all of our students to be able to learn in a way that is non-threatening and safe for them.”
Born and raised in Coaldale and having attended Kate Andrews School, Mensch went to school in Saskatoon for three years to study theology, attaining a Bachelor of Theology.
Mensch also attended the University of Winnipeg, where he got his BA degree with a specialization of English.
“I made the decision to get into education,” he said. “So I came back to Alberta (to the) University of Lethbridge and got my undergrad degree.”
In the late-80s Mensch earned his Masters of Education and Educational Administration.
“I’ve been doing a lot of teaching,” he said. “I taught at Immanuel Christian for 30 years and then I transitioned to the Alberta Distance Learning Centre and was a teacher there for 10 or 12 years.”
That has given Mensch a long career in an education field he remains passionate about.
“I’ve enjoyed my career immensely and I think I have a number of unique skills that I can bring to the table and use in terms of our decision making process,” he said. “I look forward to looking at education from a different perspective and there are a lot of different ideas floating around at this point in time, I’m sure.”
Mensch brings vast experience in class as well as online.
“While I was with Alberta Distance Learning Centre I had a lot of opportunity to do curriculum writing and I was involved in the actual writing of a number of courses while supervising some of the other courses that were being written as well. So curriculum is a pretty big issue for me,” he said.
As a town councillor in Coaldale for 27 years and a chair of the Coaldale Public Library for a few decades, Mensch also brings experience in local politics.
“I was involved with the Lethbridge Public Library and was a chair of that board for four or five years. I’m currently on the Galt board and a chair there.”
Now, Mensch takes a look to the future.
“One of the things the last 18 months has taught us is there are a lot of anxious people out there and I’m not just talking about teachers. I’m talking about students,” he said. “I’ve got grandkids who are in school and they’re frightened to go back to school because what if they get sick and all of those kinds of things.”
As such, Mensch said a board has to ensure that school is a safe place.
“When you come to school to learn, we want you to be able to focus on learning and not be focused on whether it’s safe for you or not. That shouldn’t even come into the equation as far I’m concerned. I think that’s one of the challenges we will have as a board, to make sure people are confident, not only the students, but the parents of the students, too. They really want to have safe places for their kids because we’re dealing with our future. We could teach future leaders in our community and what we’re teaching them, that’s what I really want us to focus on.
“Yes, there are threats, but when there are challenges we encounter there are also opportunities that we have to make sure we can develop our skills and strengths and use them for the building of our community. That’s really important for me.”
Mensch said he believes in lifelong learning.
“We never stop learning and how do we learn? There are so many different ways that students learn and as a board we have to provide those opportunities. People learn differently and we want to make sure we address those things.”
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