Alberta’s Secretary of Education, Adriana LaGrange, has appointed attorney Julia Sproule as the province’s first commissioner for the teaching profession.
A cabinet order on Wednesday made Sproule’s tenure official, effective January 1. The Alberta Teachers’ Association (ATA) will no longer be responsible for professional discipline and Sproule will oversee a new grievance procedure for the province’s teachers starting next year.
It’s a new job that came into being after the government passed a law in May aimed at eliminating potential conflicts of interest for the association, which as a union also represents 46,000 teachers.
A graduate of the University of Alberta, Sproule has practiced law at Wiebe Wittmann Robertson LLP, a commercial law firm based in Vancouver, served as associate vice president of operations at Legal Aid Alberta, and served as corporate attorney for the City of Edmonton and in the oil and gas industry.
In a press release on Thursday, Alberta Education highlighted Sproule’s experience as a member of a school board and on the board of directors of the kindergarten Die Kleine Kinderschule, adding that she was appointed after an open and competitive public recruitment process.
LaGrange, who was unavailable for an interview Thursday, said in the release that Sproule’s corporate role is key to the accountability and transparency of the new disciplinary process.
“The legal expertise and senior leadership capabilities that Ms. Sproule brings, along with her knowledge of the education system, are tremendous assets for this important role,” said LaGrange.
Sproule said in the release that she is honored to be appointed to lead the committee as it “undertakes its important and meaningful work”.
Bridget Stirling, a former board member of Edmonton Public Schools who is now completing a doctorate in education policy from the University of Alberta, said that while school board and school volunteers are an important part of the school system, that experience is not enough for the complexity of the environment. new role.
“There are a lot of qualified people in this county who could have stepped into that role and really took it on with an understanding of how the system works,” she told Postmedia, pointing to education law specialists, for example.
“It could very well be done, but it’s worrying to see that choice when there are so many other well-qualified, knowledgeable people out there,” she said.
Erin Allin, spokeswoman for LaGrange’s office, added in an email. Sproule has many other skills needed for the role, including experience overseeing investigations, managing large-scale projects and personnel, and driving organizational change .
The ministry wants to fill other positions within the committee this autumn, including researchers and administrators.
“Other staff members recruited to the committee have a wide range of experience, including experience with the education system,” Allin said.
The ATA has fought the UCP government’s transition to a new disciplinary system, with President Jason Schilling arguing in April that the design of the new system is prone to political interference.
The government will roll out a new code of conduct for all teachers in January and make a public appeal on Tuesday.