Palliser names Associate Superintendent (Education Services)

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Palliser Regional Schools Superintendent Kevin Gietz is pleased to announce Stan Hielema as the division’s new Associate Superintendent (Education Services).

Hielema has been principal of Trinity Christian School in Calgary for 20 years. The school joined Palliser three years ago. He’ll assume his new role at a date yet to be determined, and one of his key responsibilities will be working with the division’s eight Christian alternative schools and their respective societies.

“Stan brings a wealth of experience in leading a faith-based school,” said Gietz. “He’s a strong team builder with a deep appreciation for Palliser’s needs-based approach and services to support schools.”

When Hielema joined Trinity, the school had just 45 students. Today it serves more than 400 students from kindergarten through Grade 9, and it has a plan for major renovations by September 2016.

Hielema earned his Bachelor of Education degree in 1988 from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., majoring in Social Studies with a minor in Science. He earned his Masters of Arts in Leadership from Trinity Western University in Langley, B.C., graduating with honours in 2003.

One of his treasured professional and personal accomplishments was the 2008-2009 school year spent teaching at Quality Schools International in Bratislava, Slovakia. He, wife Monica and their four children visited 20 countries in Europe during the year.

He has experience as both an international teacher and as a student. He attended school in Holland before moving to Canada. As a student at Calgary Christian School, another Palliser alternative program, he met wife Monica.

He said he’s grateful for Palliser’s support of faith-based schools and appreciates the division’s diversity of small schools and large, rural, urban and Hutterite colony schools.

“Now I’ll be working not just with one school,” he said. “Now it’s many schools, and I’ll be building bridges to move this great division forward.”

He’s looking forward to contributing to the division’s solid track record of accountability and support for students, from counselling to literacy.

 “Palliser’s greatest strength is care for the whole child, not just academics, but emotional, social, physical, and in our faith-based schools, spiritual needs,” he said. “Palliser is always looking for how we can do this even better.”

He serves as chair of the Prairie Centre for Christian Education, based at Kings College University in Edmonton, whose members include faith-based alternative programs from public systems across Alberta and some private schools.

Twice nominated for the Alberta Excellence in Teaching Award, Hielema has coached basketball for the last 25 years. He enjoys running, travel and playing competitive soccer.

The Hielemas' eldest daughter Charissa is pursuing an education degree at Trinity  Western University; son James is in Grade 12 in Okotoks, planning to attend Trinity Western on a soccer scholarship in the fall; Annelise is a Grade 10 student in Okotoks; and youngest daughter Jillian is in Grade 8 at Trinity Christian School.

The search for a new associate superintendent began after Associate Superintendent (Education Services) Dale Backlin announced his intent to retire at the end of this school year.