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Military Spouse champions for children

Cheryl Dumont can be considered a kind of “supermom,” someone who is able to juggle the everyday challenges of being a military spouse with being Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Alberta School Board Association.

Dumont and her husband, Master Warrant Officer Marshall Dumont of 1Combat Engineer Regiment, moved to St. Albert, Alberta in 2003. Looking for something fulfilling to do after retiring from her career in the insurance industry, Dumont turned towards education.

“Knowing and loving kids, thinking our board needed somebody that didn’t have an education background; I wanted to run as a parent and business person I thought the board needed that balance.” said Dumont.

As a military spouse, Dumont faced some unique challenges when campaigning for her first election in 2010. Since she was new in the area, Dumont felt compelled to campaign door-to-door to introduce herself in the community. She is now serving her second term.

One of the most rewarding aspects of the job for Dumont is the role she plays at the provincial level.

“Although I knew it was a political office I did not know how involved I would be both municipally and provincially. I found that very rewarding to think that, we as trustees can have an influence on how people view education right across this particular province and to me that has been the most rewarding. I have gotten quite involved provincially in the politics and advocating for kids and their educational needs,” explains Dumont.

However, being a board member is not an easy job often requiring her to put in 50 hours a week for what is a part time job, spending many evenings away and having to do interviews on controversial issues.

“As chair this year I’m often called for an interview on various subjects and they’re usually controversial and as a board we speak with one voice as a whole board,” explained Dumont.

The typical job description for a member of the Board of Trustees includes hiring the superintendent and reviewing and creating policies that give direction to the district on how to better educate the children. As a member of the Board of Trustees, Dumont has assisted in crafting the district’s policies on healthy living and gender identity. The St. Albert School Board is only the second in the entire province of Alberta to create an all-inclusive policy for children of the LGBT community.

Dumont is currently halfway through a four-year term, giving her plenty of time to plan for the future. Of course, as a military wife a lot of that future depends on where her husband will be posted next.

**This story was originally published in the Winter 2015 issue**


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