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2019 CASS / ASBOA Summer Learning Conference

PDF  2019 CASS/ASBOA Summer Learning Conference Highlights PDF  2019 Summer Schedule Overview


All CASS and ASBOA members are invited to participate in the annual province-wide Summer Learning Conference, scheduled for August 13 (evening) – 16, 2019 at the Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge. The Conference will provide an opportunity for in-depth learning based on “Professional Learning Modules” during a family-friendly event in beautiful Kananaskis Country.

Professional Learning Modules are designed to deepen and apply system leaders’ professional practice with opportunities to examine Alberta context through a community of inquiry approach based on research.  (Coherent with the SLQS professional practice and/or the ASBOA professional practice standards.) Learning modules begin with a focus on personal capacity leading to the valuable role system leaders play in supporting quality school leadership and teaching to create optimum learning for all students in Alberta.

While this professional learning design is separate from the Leadership Certification work, the Ministry and selected Post Secondaries Institutions are currently building, delegates will have the opportunity to complete the Superintendent Leadership Certification In-Service at the summer conference.  Attending the SLQS In-service will provide the certification required to hold a Chief Superintendent position in Alberta after September 1, 2019.

Professional Learning Modules that are being offered are:

  • Visionary Leadership
  • Supporting Effective Governance
  • Ethical Leadership in Education
  • Leading for Inclusion
  • Employment Law for HR Leaders in Education

as well as the SLQS Certification In-Service

Additional Information

Recreational Activities
A list of activities that delegates, and family members may participate in the afternoon of August 15 is available via the hotel website on under the “explore” tab. These include canoeing, guided hiking, cycling, horseback riding, rock climbing, etc. https://lodgeatkananaskis.com/ 

The 2nd annual Golf tournament during the CASS / ASBOA Summer Learning Conference is scheduled the afternoon of Thursday, August 15. The details are still being finalized, but 72 tee times can be reserved; 36 at the Mt. Lorette course and 36 at the Mt. Kid course.

Because the commitment becomes a financial obligation after June 21st, it is necessary to ask those planning to golf to make payment on or before that date. To reserve one or more tee times, please call/email Laurel Knowles in the CASS/ ASBOA office at (780) 451-7119 / laurel.knowles@cass.ab.ca

Learning Module Descriptions

This course will provide CASS and ASBOA members with a foundation to understand human resources law in the education sector.  Attendees will gain a strong understanding of the extent of teacher and non-teacher rights, the rights of the school jurisdictions and potential liabilities including discipline, suspensions and termination of employment in the education sector.

Additionally, the course will analyze key labour law issues, dispute resolution mechanisms typically utilized in such workplaces, privacy issues in the workplace, including use of medical notes, and finally, investigations in the workplace.

Module Specific Learning Outcomes

Participants in the Human Resources Module will develop and apply strategies to:

Module Overview

  1. Identify and interpret workplace (employment, labour, human rights and privacy) laws in the education sector;
  2. Develop a sound understanding of basic hiring practices in the education sector;
  3. Develop a sound understanding of the key components of teacher and non-teacher employment contracts;
  4. Develop a sound understanding of the key components of teacher discipline, suspensions and termination in Alberta;
  5. Develop a sound understanding of human rights’ requirements of employers and employees within the education sector;
  6. Develop a sound understanding of the basic School Act and common law workplace requirements within Alberta school jurisdictions;
  7. Develop a sound understanding of current legal privacy-related requirements of Alberta school jurisdictions within the workplace under FOIP;
  8. Develop a sound understanding of current legal requirements for the conduct of workplace investigations within Alberta school jurisdictions.
  9. Compare the legal obligations and processes for unionized and non-unionized workplace within Alberta school jurisdictions.

SLQS Competency: A superintendent of schools, as referred to in the School Act, as chief executive officer of the board and chief education officer of the school authority, provides the board with information, advice, and support required for the fulfillment of its governance role, and reports to the Minister on all matters required of the superintendent as identified in the School Act and other provincial legislation.

Module Specific Learning Outcomes

Participants in the Supporting Effective Governance Module will develop and apply strategies to:

  1. work within a contextually appropriate policy governance model to establish and sustain a productive working relationship with the board, based on mutual trust, respect, and integrity.
  2. engage in ongoing education for board members and jurisdiction leaders to foster collaboration, reciprocity, and interdependency among professionals, trustees, and the wider community.
  3. support trustee participation in assessing community values and interests and mobilizing parents and the wider community in supporting the school authority’s education plan to optimize learning for all students.

Module Overview

Session A: Research Overview, Stories of Alberta Practice, Legislation Framework, Governance Models, Canada and Alberta Context

Session B: Dual Role of Alberta Superintendent, CASS organization support, Coherence Making for Mutual Benefit, Valuable Role of Leading from the Middle

Session C: Fostering Collaboration, Politics of Governance, Competency Indicators

Session D: Action Planning/lessons learned: Competency Overview, CASS Practice Profile

This purpose of this course is to provide participants in leadership positions with an understanding and means of using ethical decision-making processes which will serve them well in defending a personal decision or school board policy, and its application, in the public square.

Module Specific Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, participants will:

  1. A working knowledge of the theoretical underpinnings of all ethical action
  2. Focus on the application of ethical analysis to ethical quandaries faced by and created by school business officials and superintendents

Upon successful completion of this course, ASBOA members may use towards the CSBO designation requirements.

Module Overview

Wednesday morning – 9:00 – 11:45 am = Session A:  Ethics – the Theory

Wednesday afternoon 1:00 – 4:00 pm = Session B: Ethics & the Concept of Leadership

Thursday morning 9:00 – 11:45 am = Session C: The Idea of Professional Ethics

Friday morning 9:00-10:30 am = Session D: Living Cases- Application of Ethics

SLQS Competency: A superintendent engages with the school community in implementing a vision of a preferred future for student success, based on common values and beliefs.

Module Specific Learning Outcomes

Participants will develop and apply research-informed strategies to:

  1. Engage the school community in contributing to and understanding the vision, mission and other pertinent organizational statements.
  2. Ensure that organizational statements are expressed in the school authority’s education plan and is responsive to the ongoing review of the districts’ achievements, meets all requirements identified in provincial legislation, incorporates the school communities perspective and is informed by research on effective learning.

Module Overview

Module Overview

Session A: Research Overview, Alberta Stories of Practice, Practice and Research Review

Session B: Organizational statements, Applying the research/public participation

Session C: Community Engagement Strategies, Research, AERR and 3 Year plan – using data to measure impact of Organizational statements

Session D: Action planning/Lessons Learned: Competency Overview, CASS Practice Profile

Leading for Inclusion within a jurisdiction requires competence in the Superintendent Leadership Quality Standard and the Leadership Quality Standard.  All levels of leadership development ultimately have a focus on supporting the core work of jurisdictions – providing quality learning for ALL students within inclusive learning environments. This module will provide participants with an inclusion lens for their professional leadership development within each of the professional practice competencies.

Module Specific Learning Outcomes

Participants will develop and apply strategies to:

  1. strengthen their abilities to develop and sustain inclusive environments in which diversity is embraced and all members of the school community are welcomed, safe, cared for, and respected as required by the Superintendent Leadership Quality Standard (Alberta Education, 2018, p. 2)
  2. examine the relationship between the competencies for the Superintendent Quality Standard and the Leadership Quality Standard and those needed to lead inclusive educational systems
  3. examine educational practices through which superintendents and their leadership teams implement and sustain inclusive educational learning environments within their jurisdiction and determine evidence of success of inclusion in practice

Module Overview

Session A: How has education evolved to respond to societal changes?

Session B: What is an ideal inclusive education system?

Session C: What are the problems of practice and possible solutions to implementing         Alberta’s Inclusive Education Policy and Principles of Inclusive Education?

Session D: What evidence provides assurance that educational practices in jurisdictions  effectively support inclusive learning environments?

Attending the SLQS  In-service will provide the certification required to hold a Chief Superintendent position in Alberta after September 1, 2019.

Participants who plan to attend the SLQS Certification In-Service must register for the CASS/ASBOA conference as well as at the Leadership Certification site https://abedleadershipcert.ca

Module Specific Learning Outcomes

By attending this learning opportunity, participants will enhance their:

  • Ongoing analysis of the context as a superintendent,
  • Decision making about what knowledge and abilities to apply and
  • Ability to support quality school leadership and teaching and create optimum learning for all students in the school authority.

Module Overview

Certification In-Service Overview

Session A: SLQS Overview, Context Matters, Whereas Statements, Common Language, Decisions About What Knowledge and Abilities to Apply

Sessions B: Influences on Context and Decision Making, Alberta Stories of Practice, Case Studies and Problems of Practice, Reflection on Practice and Growth

Session C: Roles and Complexity of Decision Making to Create Optimum Learning, Case Studies related to Professional Growth, Innovation, System Improvement and Governance

Session D: Shaping Learning, Case studies about learning environments for Indigenous Students, LGBTQ Students and Visionary Leadership, Reflecting on Growth

Learning Modules are designed to deepen and apply system leaders professional practice with opportunities to examine Alberta context through a community of inquiry approach based on research.  Learning modules begin with a focus on personal capacity leading to the valuable role system leaders play in supporting quality school leadership and teaching to create optimum learning for all students in Alberta.

Professional learning modules are informed by Alberta, Canadian, and international research on high performing school districts.

Learner Commitment

This form of professional learning requires a high level of learner commitment. Participants will be asked to draw upon their professional experiences, analyze case scenarios, and collaboratively examine research to design action plans that address self-identified problems of system leadership practice.

Who Should Attend?

Superintendent and system leaders interested in building their own and as a result others capacity.  In-depth learning is intended to change practice and positively impact student learning and school authority success.

Participants in the CASS/ASBOA Professional Learning Modules will

  1. Enhance their capacity to draw upon research-informed, interrelated sets of knowledge, skills, and attitudes (competencies) and apply these to their particular leadership contexts in order to support quality leadership, teaching and optimum learning.
  2. Contribute to the career-long improvement of their professional leadership through enhanced understanding of evidence-informed self-reflection, collaborative inquiry, complex problem solving, and job-embedded application of learning.
  3. Strengthen their abilities to develop and sustain inclusive environments in which diversity is embraced and all members of the school community are welcomed, safe, cared for, and respected.


Teresa Haykowsky (Employment Law for HR Leaders in Education)

Teresa advises on management-side labour and employment law for organizations from many different industry sectors in Alberta, Quebec and Nunavut. She provides recommendations on the labour and employment aspect of day-to-day issues. Her work includes labour and employment litigation, arbitrations, human rights, collective bargaining, draft of employment contracts, noncompetition and confidentiality agreements, harassment policies and general employment policies and practices.

Teresa has appeared before every level of Court of in Alberta, the Supreme Court of Canada, Alberta Labour Relations Board, Canada Industrial Relations Board, various Human Rights Tribunals, Arbitration Boards and other administrative tribunals, including hearings before school boards of trustees.

Teresa is also recognized as a leading practitioner in Alberta in advising and representing school boards and independent schools on a wide variety of labour and education matters in respect to labour arbitrations, Board of Reference hearings, collective bargaining, wrongful dismissals, human rights, privacy, employment standards, sexual harassment, constitutional law, student-related issues, school closures, policy review, internal investigations and school board governance/school trustee matters.

Norman Yanitski (Employment Law for HR Leaders in Education)

Norman Yanitski is currently a Director of Leadership Learning (Mentorship) with the College of Alberta School Superintendents.  Norman was superintendent/CEO for Black Gold School Division where he served in this capacity for 13 years.  He has been recognized by the Black Gold Board of Trustees and received the “Inspiring Success Award of Distinction”. Norman has completed all three of his degrees at the University of Alberta earning a Doctor of Education: Educational Policy Studies 1997, a Master of Education: Educational Administration 1988, and a Bachelor of Education with Distinction 1980.  Dr. Yanitski is a leader in strategic planning, connecting people and building effective teams.

He has been acknowledged by Alberta Venture magazine as one of the top 50 Not-For-Profit CEO’s in Alberta. Norman is known for his ability to bring theoretical research and the practical work of individuals and committees together to reach solutions. During his career, Norman has also served as an adjunct assistant professor, deputy superintendent, Education manager, director of continuing education/partnerships and has experience as principal, assistant principal, department head, teacher and faculty consultant.  He currently is also a Senator at the University of Alberta where he volunteers his time and expertise.

Claire Jonsson (Employment Law for HR Leaders in Education)

Claire Jonsson is a Chartered Professional Accountant and former Certified School Business Official (CSBO).  Claire received a life membership in the Association of School Business Officials of Alberta in recognition of her outstanding contributions and service to the Association, its members and to the education system in Alberta. Claire retired from Parkland School Division in August of 2018 where she served as Associate Superintendent of Corporate Supports and Services.

Claire brings over 26 years of broad experience in the day-to-day employment issues, labour relations and human rights challenges that face School Divisions.  As part of her role of Secretary Treasurer, Claire was responsible for collective bargaining, contract negotiations, human rights litigation and privacy. Claire is a strong believer in process and recognizes the importance of an objective and unbiased approach to decision-making and problem solving.  She is results driven, with strong interpersonal skills, and ability to implement and deliver projects to successful conclusion.

Dr. Kent Donlevy (Ethical Leadership in Education)

Dr. Donlevy is an Associate Professor and former Associate Dean of the Graduate Division of Educational Research in the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary.  He is the Chair of the Research Ethics Appeal Board and the Grievance Advisor for the Faculty Association at that University.  He teaches ethics and law, is an annual lecturer in the civil litigation course in the Faculty of Law at the University of Alberta, as well as a frequently invited lecturer and debater at the Centre for Constitutional Studies in that Faculty.  He has recently presented at the Legal Education Society of Alberta.  He has a B.A., B.Ed., M.Ed., Ph.D. (Educational Administration), and J.D. (University of Saskatchewan).

He has been a K-12 teacher in Saskatchewan and Alberta, a school principal, and a negotiator for the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation and the Alberta Teachers’ Association.  He has published over 50 peer-reviewed articles in various jurisdictions (Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia), as well as two books on ethics, Working Through Ethics in Education and Leadership. and Dancing on the Narrow Ridge: Superintendents’ Ethical Decision-Making. Kent has co-authored the Guides to Alberta School Law, Saskatchewan School Law, Ontario School Law, and is currently completing, with colleagues, the Guide to PEI School Law. His most recent publication is a peer-reviewed article, A Community’s Right to Freedom of Religion: Loyola High School v. Quebec, in the Supreme Court Law Review.

He has been a member of the Saskatchewan Law Society since 1985 and, many years ago, litigated cases in provincial court (Sask.), the Court of Queen’s Bench (Sask.), and the Supreme Court of Canada.  He is qualified at the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench as an expert witness involving educational law in both constitutional and tortious matters.

Elizabeth Gouthro (Leading for Inclusion)

Elizabeth Gouthro is currently a CASS director, of Leadership Learning. Her major area of
responsibility is in the area of Indigenous education.

Prior to joining CASS, in April of 2016, Elizabeth was an educator with the Calgary Board of Education (CBE) for forty-three years. in a variety of school and system leadership roles. She has served as Director, of Instructional Services, (Special Education, English Language learning, psychology, Early learning, Aboriginal Education, Outreach., curriculum, Chinook Learning Services). Prior to this, she served as Director for Diversity 2007 where she has responsibility for providing culturally and linguistically services and support to the CBE. Liz has also served in numerous other leadership positions including Area Director, Principal, assistant and vice principal and teacher k-12 and adult education.

Elizabeth has also been actively involved in her professional organizations, at the local and provincial level for the ATA and CASS. She has served CASS in a variety of positions as her CASS zone treasurer, secretary, chair and metro director for 16 years. She also has served on many Alberta Education committees throughout her career.

Elizabeth’s academic credentials include Doctoral Studies – Educational Leadership and a Master of Education, Human Resources and Organizational Behavior from the University of Calgary; a Bachelor of Education Degree in Secondary Education, Math and Science from Acadia University; a Master of Science Degree in Endocrinology, Dalhousie University; and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology and English, St. Francis Xavier University.

She was the proud 2015 recipient of the national Indspire Guiding the Journey Indigenous Educator Award.

Dianne McConnell (Leading for Inclusion)

Dr. Dianne McConnell re-joined Parkland School Division in 2013 in the role of Associate Superintendent. She had teaching stops at various PSD schools early on in her educational journey.

As a registered psychologist and educator, Dr. McConnell brings over 30 years of broad experience as a lifelong educational leader and a strong commitment to student success to the Associate Superintendent role. In recent senior management positions with Alberta Education, Dianne played an instrumental leadership role in effecting systemic education change through both Action on Inclusion and Early Childhood Development strategies on behalf of government. In her work with Alberta Education, Dr. McConnell also served as project lead for Setting the Direction, a transformational initiative that developed the provincial framework for an inclusive education system in 2010. Dianne has served as a national board member of CNIB. Her family has strong roots in Parkland School Division, as her boys grew up in PSD and thrived in community schools. Her husband Roy is a former PSD Principal and is currently the Manager of Inclusive Learning Resources & Supports for Vision Education Alberta.

Christopher Usih (Leading for Inclusion)

Christopher Usih is the Chief Superintendent of Schools at the Calgary Board of Education, a position he has held since December 2018. He has more than 28 years of experience as an educator. He began teaching in an Indigenous community in Northern Manitoba but spent the majority of his career in diverse roles with the Toronto school district including teacher, principal, superintendent of student success, and other executive roles. A champion of public education, Mr. Usih is highly regarded for his commitment to equity, raising academic standards and addressing achievement and opportunity gaps. His responsive and collaborative approach has brought change to how students are supported.

Gary Strother (Visionary Leadership)

Gary Strother has been the chief superintendent of the Calgary Catholic School District since 2012. He leads the largest Catholic school district in Alberta, serving more than 55,000 students in 112 schools in Calgary, Airdrie, Cochrane, Chestermere and Rocky View County. Strother moved from Montreal to Calgary in 1983 when he began working with the district as a teacher, then served as a vice-principal, principal and area superintendent. Strother is committed to academic success and doing what is best for students. He believes in supporting each and every employee in the district to inspire excellence in students, which has helped make the district one of the top performers in the province. He has built a culture of shared responsibility, transparency and collaboration. Strother sits on various local and provincial boards, including the Board of Directors for the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre, where he recently helped unveil a toolkit to better equip teachers to identify and report child abuse.

Roger Nippard (Supporting Effective Governance)

Roger Nippard has served as the Superintendent/CEO of two Alberta school jursdictions over the past eleven years.  In 2014 he moved to Calgary taking on that role with Foundations for the Future Charter Academy, Alberta’s largest public charter school. Originally from Newfoundland and Labrador his initial experience at the governance table came through being appointed as an ex-officio member of the school board representing staff and administration. His governance perspective also includes his work in both provinces in positions such as District Partnerships Facilitator, Assistant Superintendent – Programs, Area Assistant Superintendent, Assistant Superintendent – Human Resources and Deputy Superintendent.

Mr. Nippard holds Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education degrees from Memorial University and a Master’s of Education degree, in Educational Counselling, from the University of Ottawa. He is currently pursuing his PhD in Human Resource Development at Burapha University. He has served as President of both CASS and CASSA presenting at numerous national and international conferences. A graduate of the National Staff Development Council Academy he has also worked for Royal Roads University as an Associate Professor in their Master’s of Administration and Leadership Training program.

Roger and his wife Marilyn have three children and three grandchildren all of whom reside in Calgary.

Dr. Naomi Johnson (Supporting Effective Governance)

Naomi Johnson is currently a Director of Leadership Learning with the College of Alberta School Superintendents where she worked in partnership with the ATA, and AISCA to develop the content for the LQS and SLQS In-services .  Naomi  has worked at University of Calgary as a sessional instructor teaching the Design- Based Learning and Professional Learning courses and supervising Education Students in the field.  Currently, Naomi is working with Continuing Education at the University of Calgary, developing content for the LQS and SLQS courses .

As the Chief Superintendent for the Calgary Board of Education, the third largest school jurisdiction in Canada, Naomi led the district of 125000 students and 14000 employees with a focus on personalized learning and equity of opportunity and outcomes for each and every student. This was an exhilarating and challenging position. For the 5 years she was Chief, the jurisdiction achieved above the provincial average in all areas of assessment.  Led by the Board of Trustees, policy was developed to reflect the values of the community.

Naomi completed her doctorate degree at the University of Calgary in the area of Leadership and Governance. A Master of Arts degree in Educational Policy and Administration was also granted by the University of Calgary. From the University of Winnipeg, Naomi was granted a Bachelor of Arts degree in the area of Criminology and a degree in Education from the University of Manitoba.

Naomi worked for the Calgary Board of Education for 33 years as a teacher, a principal, Director of Student Services, Area Director,  and finally as the Chief Superintendent. Naomi is a lifetime member of the College of Albert School Superintendents.

Michael McMann (SLQS Certification In-Service)

Michael McMann is the Superintendent of Schools for the Fort Vermilion School Division. Among others, he has held the positions of teacher, school-based administrator, Assistant Superintendent and Superintendent over his 20+ years in the education field. Throughout his career, Mike has worked fervently to improve schools, including a significant focus on increasing educational opportunities for students. Michael is a Dare to Lead Facilitator under the leadership of Brene Brown.


Sandy McDonald (SLQS Certification In-Service)

Sandy McDonald is in his 4th year as Superintendent of Schools/CEO for the Grande Prairie Public School District. Sandy has spent the majority of his career with GPPSD, and has been an administrator since 1997 serving as Vice Principal, Principal, Director, Assistant Superintendent and Deputy Superintendent before moving into his current role.  Sandy is a strong believer in the value of aligning all levels of planning in the system to support student success and has recently collaborated on a contribution to the CASS Connection magazine with a short article describing the approach GPPSD is using to drive system-wide improvement.



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Online registration is now closed. Please contact claudine.cortes@cass.ab.ca for inquiries.


CASS and ASBOA members will have the opportunity to complete a professional learning module, to support the work they do as System Leaders.

CASS professional learning goal for 2019-20

Deepening the understanding and applying the learning to support implementation of professional practice.


August 13 (evening) – 16, 2019


Pomeroy Kananaskis Mountain Lodge (formerly Delta Hotels Kananaskis Lodge)
Guest rooms are currently SOLD OUT. Please send an email to claudine.cortes@cass.ab.ca for more information.