Keess returns for third term as president of Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation
SASKATOON – Opting for continuity in a time of significant change for the teaching profession in Saskatchewan, those attending the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation Annual Meeting of Council re-elected incumbent Colin Keess for a third term as president.
Keess, a longtime educator who taught most recently in Estevan, characterized the election results as having been a cautious vote by councillors.
“I reflect on it as an organization going through huge and critical changes, which has been described as having many spinning plates at the same time; all of which have an input on the well-being of teachers.”
Keess emerged victorious in a three-way election with fellow provincial executive members Randy Cline and Sonja Susut, which was a repeat of the previous year. In the subsequent voting for vice-president, Cline finished on top in a reversal of the roles from 2013.
Among the numerous issues on the immediate horizon for teachers in the province is the ongoing process of trying to secure a provincial collective agreement, as well as seeking resolution to the school day, school year and the recently announced Education Sector Strategic Plan.
The STF has been advocating for increased teacher voice in the implementation of these initiatives undertaken by the provincial government. In recent times, including Education Minister Don Morgan’s speech during the opening day of council, there has been an affirmation by government for the need to have greater teacher input in the future.
According to Keess, such statements, as well as the most recent meetings with educational partners and teachers throughout the province, have left him feeling hopeful.
“I think I’m more optimistic now than I have been before, and we are seeing what I hope is a commitment to really engage teachers.”
Keess pledged to work respectfully with the various sector partners in seeking solutions, characterizing the need for determined diplomacy.