Kathleen Finnigan appointed new Superintendent of Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools
From Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools
Red Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools is delighted to announce the appointment of Mrs. Kathleen Finnigan as the division’s new Superintendent of Schools.
“Over the past four months, the Board of Trustees has been conducting a nationwide search for a new Superintendent of Schools. A key component of the process involved reaching out to key stakeholders to gather their thoughts and opinions regarding the new superintendent,” said Kim Pasula, Board Chair at Red Deer Regional Schools.
“The input received from the consultation, that involved engagement with all staff and parents and guardians in the Division, as well as key stakeholders from our broader community, was central to the recruitment and selection process.”
Finnigan has a Bachelor of Education from the University of Alberta, a Master of Education from San Diego State University and is currently working on a Doctorate of Education specializing in K-12 education leadership through the University of Calgary.
Finnigan grew up and graduated in Delburne, a small town east of Red Deer. She comes from a large farming family in which she is one of six girls along with one brother. Finnigan values community. She was taught the importance of community from her parents who were role models of servant leadership with their work in Delburne, Central Alberta and on the provincial scene. Finnigan believes in the saying, “It takes a village to raise a child” and is looking forward to working in a team to enhance the Red Deer Catholic community whereby students will continue to be the center of all decisions. Finnigan and her husband, Terry, have four boys all educated in Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools.
Finnigan has 34 years of experience as a professional Catholic educator within the division in the roles as teacher, counsellor, school administrator and senior administrator. She has been part of five different school communities in Red Deer: St. Thomas Aquinas Middle School, Maryview School, Holy Family School, St. Martin de Porres School and St. Patrick’s Community School. Finnigan’s first principalship was at St. Martin’s where she worked in a team with a variety of stakeholders to develop the first fine arts school in Central Alberta.
For the past nine years, she has been a member of a senior leadership team holding the positions of Associate Superintendent of Inclusive Learning, Associate Superintendent of Personnel and Acting Superintendent of Schools. Finnigan will continue to foster gospel centred school communities of hope within our division through her connections with staff and stakeholders. She is an active member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church as proclaimer, eucharistic minister and children’s liturgy teacher.
Over the years, she has won many awards including Women of Excellence for Central Alberta (2016), Canada’s Outstanding Principal (2010), Alberta’s Excellence in Teaching Semi-Finalist (2009), Leadership Award from the Council of School Administrators (2001) and Health and Physical Education Award through the HPEC Council (1989).
At today’s Board Meeting, the Board of Trustees will vote on a motion to seek the approval of the Minister of Education to appoint Finnigan as Superintendent of Schools. As per the Education Act, the Minister of Education approves all Superintendent hires and contracts.
The employment of the former Superintendent was concluded by the Board of Trustees in February 2020 and at that time Finnigan was appointed Acting Superintendent of Schools. Since then, she has navigated the division through the COVID-19 pandemic (school closures, at-home learning and school re-entry of in-person learning) and the new funding model from Alberta Education.
“I am blessed to have been appointed Superintendent at Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools; a school division known for exemplary staff and school administrators working together to ensure that Christ is known to students while aspiring to excellence. Alongside the Board of Trustees and staff we will continue to foster gospel centred communities of hope through communication, collaboration, and innovation as we lead our school communities together,” said Superintendent, Kathleen Finnigan at Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools.
“Kathleen was chosen in a highly competitive selection process from a strong field of candidates. She is a highly impressive talent known for her collaborative leadership style that will serve her and our entire staff well in advancing the mission of Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools to make Christ known to children,” said Pasula.
Red Deer Catholic Regional Schools serves over 10,360 students in 20 schools in Red Deer, Blackfalds, Sylvan Lake, Rocky Mountain House, Innisfail, and Olds, as well as an at-home learning program. It also supports the learning of over 1095 students in a Traditional Home Education Program. The Division is committed to serving children and parents with a complete offering of learning opportunities delivered within the context of Catholic teachings and within the means of the Division.
New Brunswick’s proposed education policy change sparks backlash in Ottawa
The New Brunswick government is facing criticism from cabinet ministers, MPs and senators in Ottawa who say it’s putting LGBTQ kids at risk with a new policy.
Premier Blaine Higgs is pushing changes to sexual orientation policy in schools that would force children under 16 to get parental consent to change their names or pronouns at school.
The previous version of the policy required teachers to get a student’s informed consent before discussing names and pronouns with their parents, and was meant to make schools inclusive and safe for LGBTQ children.
Higgs says he’s taking a strong position for families, but the changes have sparked anger from opposition parties and dissent within his own caucus.
Senators Kim Pate and René Cormier wrote an op-ed calling for the government to reconsider and reminding Higgs that the province is subject to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
Official Languages Minister Ginette Petitpas Taylor called the decision appalling in a tweet, and her cabinet colleague Randy Boissonnault says the policy puts lives at risk.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 9, 2023.
Ottawa girl set to become the youngest university graduate in Canadian history
Anthaea-Grace Patricia Dennis poses for a portrait at the University of Ottawa in Ottawa on Friday, June 2, 2023. The 12-year-old is graduating from the University of Ottawa’s biomedical science program, and setting a record in the process. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Anthaea-Grace Patricia Dennis is not your typical 12-year-old.
She is a child prodigy who’s about to become the youngest Canadian to ever graduate from university.
On Saturday, Patricia Dennis will walk across the University of Ottawa stage in her cap and gown and accept a bachelor’s degree in biomedical science.
She started the program when she was nine, at a time when most of her peers were playing games at recess.
So how is this wunderkind feeling about the big day?
“I’m going to be proud. I’m going to hope I don’t fall off the stage,” Patricia Dennis said in an interview.
“I’m going to be happy for myself too, not just for other people. I am proud of myself for getting to this point, despite all the hurdles and blocks that there have been for a person like me.”
Perhaps no one will be more proud or excited than her biggest supporter, her mom Johanna Dennis.
Dennis said she realized her daughter was special when she was around two-and-a-half years old. She has felt so ever since.
The pair have a close bond.
Dennis was a single mother while she built her own academic career. After obtaining a number of degrees, she’s now a law professor and has been instrumental in her daughter’s education.
“I feel like part of why I’m going to the convocation and walking across the stage is for her own benefit to say, ‘Thank you for being there for me.’ I think that’s really the main purpose of the graduation in the first place,” said Patricia Dennis.
“She’s always there for me whenever I need her to be there.”
Being a preteen in an intensive university program has come with a unique set of challenges. Patricia Dennis has had to deal with people’s preconceived notions and expectations about how she is going to look, talk and act based on her age.
“My advice for people who are also young, gifted, smart, talented — don’t let other people’s expectations bring you down,” she said.
“That’s been a major obstacle for me everywhere I go.”
She also wants to inspire other intelligent and ambitious children.
“I’m very motivated by the fact that I can be the first (to do) something. You know, being able to show other young, gifted and talented people that something like this is possible, that you can get through these roadblocks, has always been something that I’ve always wanted to do,” she said.
The highlight of her university career so far was completing a 40-page thesis on the relationship functional activity in the cerebellum — the part of the brain responsible for co-ordinating balance and movement — and handedness.
The paper concluded that connectivity between the brain and hand is significantly different for people who are right-handed versus those who are left-handed.
After researching the topic for around a year, Patricia Dennis presented her findings at the Ottawa-Carleton Institute of Biology Symposium.
“I can now call myself a researcher,” she said. “There are people showing interest in what I’m doing, and I feel like the master of the cerebellum.”
When she’s not researching or writing about the brain, Patricia Dennis is a “very good” violinist, her mom said.
She also loves playing with her cats and binge-watching TV shows with her family.
After a well-earned break from her studies over the summer, Patricia Dennis is pursuing postgraduate school.
Her top three candidates are McGill University, the University of Toronto and the Illinois Institute of Technology, and she’s interested in continuing her research on functional activity in the cerebellum.
“I’ll probably pick it back up when I have my own lab, and I can get people to also do it with me, because I’ll be in charge,” she said.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 9, 2023.
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