By Thandiwe Konguavi
Staff Writer

A writer with a talent for creative thinking is hoping to bring a youthful voice to the Edmonton Catholic school board.

Gabrielle Johnson, 25, is a candidate for trustee in the city’s southwest Ward 74.

The recent master’s degree graduate believes her education in philosophy has prepared her to help solve the difficult problems that the school board might face.

“Basically what we do in philosophy is we find difficult questions and we come up with creative solutions and answers for them,” said Johnson, who graduated from the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium.

“A lot of what a trustee is doing is finding out what the problems are in the district or what kind of problems we need to tackle next and then coming up with solutions that are able to satisfy a variety of different perspectives. So that’s something that helps.”

Johnson also said her youth is an advantage “because it’s a lot easier for me to understand what our students are going through and their perspective.”  

Johnson graduated from École J. H. Picard School and worked as an educational assistant at Monsignor William Irwin Catholic School. She says she has a passion for Catholic education. 

“I think Catholic education is such a beautiful thing because it provides an education with the understanding that we’re not just brains but we are human beings who have minds but who also have souls and bodies. So it kind of speaks to all of the aspects of our humanity.”

Johnson’s goals include raising awareness of the value of Catholic education, ensuring that the school district remains faithful to its Catholic identity, and promoting accountability among trustees.

Johnson is running against incumbent Debbie Engel, who is serving her fifth term representing the ward. The election will be held on Oct. 16.

For more information, visit Johnson’s website:

For more profiles of trustee candidates across the Archdiocese, visit our 2017 Election Page.