Questions for PSTA President Nominees

#1 What do you think are some strengths of the PSTA? What do you think some areas of improvement for the PSTA are? How will you leverage strengths and plan for improvements, if you are elected president?

Meredith Rhinas
Scott Woods-Fehr

#2 Can you comment on a time when you led a group of colleagues to implement a change initiative?

Meredith Rhinas
Scott Woods-Fehr

#3 Maintaining and building trust with the board and the school division are a crucial part of the role as president, and so is advocating for Prairie Spirit teachers. How will you maintain relationships when our interests diverge?

Meredith Rhinas
Scott Woods-Fehr

#4 What parts of being President would you excel at and what parts might you struggle with?

Meredith Rhinas
Scott Woods-Fehr

Candidate for PSTA President: Scott Woods-Fehr

I began my teaching career as a substitute teacher in 2002. For three years I was a high school teacher at Chief Poundmaker School, for six years I worked at Hanley Composite in the role of K-12 Special Education Resource Teacher (SERT), and for five years I was a grade 7 teacher at Warman Community Middle School. My range of experience across different roles and schools has helped me represent Prairie Spirit teachers.

To understand the roles of STF and local associations, I became involved with the PSTA as a substitute teacher and attended Representative Assemblies. I was elected an STF Counsellor for the first time in 2009. I have witnessed many significant changes in education locally and provincially in my 15 years on the PSTA executive, including the changes to the provincial funding model, and the changes we’ve experienced through six different directors of education.

As a local association president, I represent the teachers of Prairie Spirit School Division and I take this responsibility seriously. There are times the job of president requires me to speak on behalf teachers and share our concerns when school or division-wide changes are proposed. One of my strengths is to the ability to approach these discussions logically and respectfully while also refusing to accept responses that are not consistent or reasonable.

Recently, when the school division decided to move teachers’ duty-free noon break to the end of the day due to STF members’ withdrawal of lunch supervision, I initiated a response with PSTA Councillors. Within 24 hours we sent out a member survey to gather data from teachers about the problems this decision would cause and teachers’ feelings about the decision. I facilitated an impromptu weekend meeting of the PSTA Executive to compose a formal letter to the Prairie Spirit Job Action Committee to highlight the concerns of our membership and to encourage the division to try to find a solution that meets the needs of both students and teachers.

As president, it my job to support teachers when a problem arises. Sometimes I am the person asking division senior leaders the questions teachers and administrators don’t feel comfortable asking. HR works for the school division and represents our employer; whereas I work for you and represent you and your needs. In every situation, I try to respond swiftly. I often consult with STF leaders along the way to ensure members have access to all necessary information to inform decision-making and problem-solving. With almost four years’ experience in this role, I have expanded my knowledge of division and STF policies. I feel confident and capable in this leadership role.

This year, I’ve made it my goal to visit each school for a full day at least once. In previous years, Covid restrictions prevented school visits. This year, many of you have seen me set up my office in your staff room to make myself available for your questions and collegial conversations.

As PSTA President, I pledge to continue to maintain the positive and open relationship the PSTA has developed with our board and division staff. At the same time, I will continue to advocate for the needs of teachers with a strong voice. My experience in a variety of K-12 classroom settings, as a special education teacher, and in small and large schools has allowed me to understand the different positions and perspectives of teachers across our division.

The work of the PSTA is incredibly important for the future of our profession and I thank you for putting your trust in me as your representative. I hope to have the opportunity to continue to represent you locally and provincially.

Please vote Scott for PSTA President on March 17th and 18th.

Video Responses from the Candidate:

  1. What do you think are some strengths of the PSTA? What do you think some areas of improvement for the PSTA are? How will you leverage strengths and plan for improvements, if you are elected president?
  2. Can you comment on a time when you led a group of colleagues to implement a change initiative?
  3. Maintaining and building trust with the board and the school division are a crucial part of the role as president, and so is advocating for Prairie Spirit teachers. How will you maintain relationships when our interests diverge?
  4. What parts of being President would you excel at and what parts might you struggle with?

Candidate for PSTA President: Meredith Rhinas

My name is Meredith Rhinas and I am currently a teacher at Warman High School. I am writing to indicate my intent to allow my name to stand as a candidate for PSTA President.

I am an excellent candidate for PSTA President because our division needs a strong and confident voice for Prairie Spirit teachers. I am an exceptional communicator with the necessary conflict resolution skills required to engage in the difficult but necessary discussions needed to move PSSD forward. I am a community-builder, encouraging others to participate, advocate, and embrace their essential roles within our school division. I am well-spoken, and able to identify and articulate the important issues for the purpose of raising awareness, inspiring change, and motivating action within Prairie Spirit.

Throughout my 15 years as an educator, I have been actively involved as a collaborative colleague, participating in many extracurricular activities, serving on committees, and in formal positions of leadership in schools both internationally and here in PSSD, all of which have helped shape my perspectives as an inclusive educator who values diversity. I also worked at the Prairie Spirit Division Office as an English as an Additional Language Facilitator, working in a capacity-building role designed to empower teachers working with EAL students. Currently, I am the Head of the English Department at Warman High School, as well as a School Staff Liaison. Additionally, recent job action has given me the opportunity to use my voice and platform to reach and connect with thousands of people around Saskatchewan in my goal to advocate for the teaching profession and to educate others on the critical issues facing teachers and students in our schools right now.

Currently, I am working on obtaining my Masters’ Degree in Educational Administration at the U of S. The opportunity to grow both personally and professionally, along with opening doors for future leadership and administrative opportunities, was a natural step in my career path. Over the past year, I have enjoyed my role as a student, engaging actively as a committed participant, with the goal of learning and further developing as an educator in a collaborative and rigorous educational setting.

I have strong administrative and organizational skills, and excellent inter-personal skills that allow me to work well as part of a team, or in a leadership position. I firmly believe that the policies and procedures we put in place now are for the benefit of PSSD teachers for years to come, and as president I would be committed to bringing forth the issues that are most pressing for my colleagues and ensuring that clear policies are in place to back our mandate as educators.

I am passionate about education and believe that teachers who are well-supported, encouraged, and given the opportunity to grow make for educators who inspire the same qualities in their students, fostering learning and achievement in environments we can all take pride in. It would be my great honour to represent the teachers of PSSD in this vital role of advocacy within our division, as PSTA President.

Video Responses from the Candidate:

  1. What do you think are some strengths of the PSTA? What do you think some areas of improvement for the PSTA are? How will you leverage strengths and plan for improvements, if you are elected president?
  2. Can you comment on a time when you led a group of colleagues to implement a change initiative?
  3. Maintaining and building trust with the board and the school division are a crucial part of the role as president, and so is advocating for Prairie Spirit teachers. How will you maintain relationships when our interests diverge?
  4. What parts of being President would you excel at and what parts might you struggle with?