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New trustee eager to be advocate for Catholic education

“I love the people and I love the culture of Christ the Redeemer and I wanted to be of service."
A1 Chamber of Commerce AGM 0065 copy
Andrew Gustafson, here speaking at a past Okotoks Chamber of Commerce event, is the new Okotoks trustee for Christ the Redeemer Catholic Schools. (Brent Calver/Western Wheel File Photo)

An Okotoks business owner and prolific community volunteer is taking his experience to the school board.

Andrew Gustafson is the new trustee for Christ the Redeemer Catholic Schools in Okotoks following the municipal election on Oct. 18. 

Gustafson was up against Krista Conrad, whom he defeated by a narrow margin of 293 votes. Both candidates were running in their first trustee election with no incumbent in the ward, following the passing of long-time trustee and board chair Ron Schreiber in September.  

“I see the joy that they bring home every day from time in those schools,” said Gustafson, who has children attending schools in CTR and whose wife is a vice-principal within the division. “I love the people and I love the culture of Christ the Redeemer and I wanted to be of service."

The trustee-elect said that he is excited for his role to begin, and added that he has already had the opportunity to attend meetings.  

“I hit the ground running already, and I’m just really looking forward to digging in,” Gustafson said.  

He is prepared to handle the numerous challenges that he is sure will arise throughout the next four years. One of which, he said, is the future of Catholic education.  

“I think it needs to be protected, both the institution as well as the integrity. What happens inside those schools – I’m very excited to be a more active advocate for that,” he said.  

As his term begins, Gustafson also said that he is looking forward to learning about the culture of education in the province, and added that the fast-approaching learning curve will allow him to expand on his experiences and capabilities.  

He added that as a small business owner with nearly 25 years of involvement in the school system as a husband to a teacher, father, coach and more, he brings a well-rounded perspective to the table – something he said will add to his ability to contribute to solutions.  

“I’m just really excited to see what the next challenge is,” he said. “I imagine that there’s going to be something unique and different every board meeting, every month, every week maybe.” 

Gustafson was previously the president of the Okotoks Chamber of Commerce, the chair of the Sheep River Health Trust, and currently serves as the executive vice-president of Calgary Minor Basketball and the commissioner of Okotoks Minor Basketball.  

As he expressed satisfaction with his win, he said that running against Conrad is ultimately going to make him a better trustee.  

“I was incredibly blessed to be elected, but it wasn’t without effort, and it wasn’t without someone really pushing me to be better,” he said. “And so, Krista’s involvement in that election made it a much more fruitful process.

“I learned more because she was there. I will be a better trustee now, because of her involvement in the election."

Lauryn Heintz

About the Author: Lauryn Heintz

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