Yvonne Sissons, one of two new Medicine Hat Public School Board trustees, is a mother of three with a passion for public education and the opportunities it can offer.
Originally from small town Saskatchewan, Sissons has lived most of her adult life in Alberta.
“I made the move to Alberta to pursue a career as a registered nurse and had the opportunity to work at the children’s hospital, specializing in neurology, nephrology and renal dialysis.”
Sissons and her husband settled down to start a family in Medicine Hat 10 years ago and they love what the community offers.
“My family and I are our best selves when we’re out in nature, whether that be hiking, biking and camping in the summer, or snowboarding and cross-country skiing in the winter,” said Sissons. “My husband and I strive to make this valuable family time a priority, and our little corner of Alberta is just the perfect spot for that.”
Travelling has been a passion for years for Sisson.
“I’ve been fortunate to travel throughout Europe, India and Southeast Asia and I’ve even climbed Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa,” said Sissons. “Seeing different parts of the world has instilled in me a love and respect for culture and diversity, and my husband and I hope to instill these same values in our children.”
She is a proponent of extra-curricular activities in the hope they will enhance children’s learning skills, build confidence and encourage self discipline.
Sissons values a strong sense of community and family, standards she observes daily at her children’s school.
“My children are excited to go to school every day,” Sissons said. “I’d like to strive for all students to feel the same way about their school environment, because to feel included and part of a community that cares is so important for the mental health of our children, especially during these challenging times.”
“Like many parents, I have concerns for our children in this rapidly changing world and the challenges it will present. I want to have a hand in advocating for the best learning opportunities to give children every possible advantage in life.”
Sissons says she had few options for alternative programming growing up and would like to see more options available for students.
“I feel we’re a big enough community to support a variety of programming. Second language learning, STEM programs, such as computer coding, music and art, and sports programs are means through which students discover their passions,” explained Sissons. “Every child, regardless of their socioeconomic status, should have access to opportunities through public schooling.”
Sissons is looking forward to working with the trustees and the Medicine Hat Public School Division administration.
“I just wanted to say thank you to everyone that has supported me in this endeavour,” said Sissons. “I know it’ll be a steep learning curve, but I’m definitely committed to working hard towards the betterment of education for our children.”
LAUREN THOMSON, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News