New trustee for Picture Butte area to be sworn in Jan. 20

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Craig Whitehead brings teaching and public service experience to the board

Craig Whitehead will be sworn in to the Palliser Regional Schools Board of Trustees at its next regular meeting Jan. 20.

Whitehead, 62, was the lone candidate to file nomination papers on Jan. 5 in advance of an expected byelection Feb. 2, replacing the former trustee who resigned in July. He represents Ward 1, Subdivision 4, a region in Lethbridge County that includes the communities of Picture Butte and Iron Springs.

Whitehead had nearly 25 years of experience when he retired from teaching in Livingstone Range School Division in June. He and wife Terry, also a retired teacher, have lived in Picture Butte for the past three years where they are empty nesters with a blended family of seven adult children.

For Whitehead, the school board seat is an opportunity “to give back to education.” He says his approach is the board, parents, staff and students should seek “win-win” outcomes when making decisions.

Whitehead is a strong believer in the importance of student access to a broad range of programs including art, music, athletics and trades training, and of schools meeting the needs of the whole student.

“The highlight of my teaching career was seeing the transformation of a school that adopted the Leader in Me program,” Whitehead said. A trained Leader in Me facilitator, Whitehead says the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People program for students builds leadership qualities in young people and promotes understanding that the students themselves are responsible for learning, working in partnership with teachers. The Leader in Me program is also found at three schools in Palliser.

He has 11 years of experience teaching on a colony school, bringing to Palliser an understanding of this unique culture and the challenges of teaching English language learners.

Whitehead has a history of public service he learned from his father, George Whitehead, a former reeve of the Municipal District of Willow Creek and one-time provincial candidate for the Progressive Conservatives in the waning days of the Social Credit dynasty.

He is a member of the Town of Picture Butte recreation and municipal planning committees and a director of the Picture Butte Golf Course. As a student, he served on the University of Lethbridge Senate and on an advisory committee to the Minister of Advanced Education. He’s a former small business operator, former director of the Westminster Business Revitalization Zone in Lethbridge, and once ran as a Liberal candidate in a provincial election campaign.

“I’m looking forward to getting to know more about the division and learning the duties of a school board trustee,” he said. “Then I can bring my experience to the table to ensure decisions are made that benefit everybody.”