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If you are more fortunate than others, build a longer table, not a taller fence.

Mr. Ian Gray is the Superintendent of Aurora Academic Charter Schools in Edmonton, Alberta.  He has 27 years of teaching and administration experience and has been an Online Learning Coordinator, a Director of Technology, and has held multiple principalships. He holds both leadership and superintendent leadership certifications in Alberta. He earned a Master of Education in Leadership degree from the University of Portland and is currently completing doctoral work to support research and innovation in his school authority and in partnerships with community and academic institutions, including Simon Fraser University and the University of Alberta.  Recently, Mr. Gray served on the Alberta Research Network Steering Committee.


Mr. Gray is also the current President of The Association of Alberta Public Charter Schools, an organization committed to promoting and facilitating public charter school education in Alberta.


For leisure, I spent a lot of time slapping tennis balls against my parents' garage door with my hockey stick, occasionally even hitting the net placed before it.  That poor door was covered, from corner to corner, with dark, round spots where the ball, often wet from rain or from travelling through my mother's small garden, gave many not-so-pleasant kisses.  My parents never complained, nor did they ever make me clean it.  In some respects, I think they liked it.  The marks were somewhat of a tribute to their encouragement of physical activity in their children.

Without fail, if I was outside pounding balls or playing with my friends, younger kids would join in.  And, of course, we always let them, even though it spoiled whatever game we had going on at the time.  Even if I was inside, the doorbell would often ring, and my mom would answer it, calling out that some youngster from the neighbourhood wanted to know if I would play. And, of course, I always did.

It was also the year when a love of learning was firmly cemented in my heart.  I owe much of that to my teacher that year, Mr. Nestlbeck, who encouraged me in my pursuit of knowledge.  Learning about ancient civilizations, science (rocketry club was the best!), sports, photography (we developed our own pictures from our homemade pin-hole cameras back then), and a ton of other interests, I was driven to engage with every book and magazine I could find.  When anyone in my family wasn't sure of a fact, we all said, "Look it up!"  At the time, that meant grabbing a dictionary or Encyclopedia Brittanica.

So, looking back, looking way back, it's probably no surprise that I became a teacher. I knew that was what I wanted to be every time I stood on the driveway and passed the tennis ball to the little guys who lived on my parents' block.

Well, that or a pilot.  Because flying planes is cool.


Grade six was my favourite year of school. I had good friends, a happy and healthy family, and no end of interests and activities to pursue.


Learning, research and innovation have long been a passion of mine.  These passions were further pursued in my undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Alberta with a focus on research, science and technology, leadership and innovation.  I was so fortunate to have exemplary graduate advisors, Dr. Michael Szabo for my Master's Degree and Theoretical Physicist Dr. Wytze Brouwer for my Doctor in Education.

Wabamun Lake April 2021.JPG

As a teacher, administrator, and researcher I have been fortunate to work with so many inspiring people and continue a life-long journey of education and innovation.  Along with research and writing, I enjoy hiking and biking with my family and friends. It is an honour working with the fabulous Aurora students, parents, staff, and community stakeholders.  

Dr. Paul Wozny

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