Métis Nation–Saskatchewan (MN–S) announced last week that Darryl Bazylak will join the organization as the new Director of Education.

Born and raised in Saskatoon, Bazylak is a proud Métis citizen with strong roots in the Duck Lake/Horse Lake region of the province. Following in his family’s footsteps, Bazylakis pursued a career in education and for the past 31 years has worked with primary-school-aged students.

“I am hoping that I have something that I can bring to the table,” Bazylak said. “I think that the Métis Nation felt that I did and that’s why they put me in the role.”

He will join the government in July following his retirement from the role of Director of Education for Prairie Spirit School Division. Bazylak said that with his impending retirement he was looking for other opportunities.

“When I started my career 30 years ago I was at Joe Duquette High School in Saskatoon, which is now Oskayak High School and it’s an urban aboriginal high school. I spent overall 10 years of my career there,” Bazylak said.

“I started my career working with our Indigenous students and I thought, ‘what better way to begin the transition to the end of my career, whenever that might be, and to work with Métis Nation Saskatchewan and to be a citizen as well.’

“I just feel at home. It was the right place to go, I have described it as I felt it was a calling and bring some of the experience that I have had over the years to the Métis Nation.”

Bazylakis holds a Bachelor of Arts and Science in English and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Saskatchewan.

He also completed a Masters of Educational Foundations in the Indian and Northern Education Program (INEP) at the University of Saskatchewan. He was employed by Greater Saskatoon Catholic School Division for 29 years and has extensive experience in human resources, technology, facilities and operations of schools.

This includes education, training, diverse in-school administrative experience, varied portfolios as a senior administrator, and involvement in provincial, national and international educational arenas.

Closing the gap in education outcomes for Indigenous students has been a personal and professional priority of Bazylak’s’ for over 30 years.

Bazylak said that the province is built on people and networks and he has developed vast connections in the world of education which will help him in his new role.

“Whether that is with our provincial government, Ministry of Education or private business partners or First Nation partners, the 27 school divisions, (and) all of the directors are my colleagues as well because I am at Prairie Spirit School Division,” Bazylak said.

“(It’s) all of those aspects. I also had the pleasure of having a few portfolios from human resources superintendent for three years and facilities and learning and First Nations Métis portfolio.”

Bazylak said he hopes to bring support to others in the MN-S as a veteran of the education field.

“I think, also, I am eager to learn from those people,” he added. “At my stage in my career, if I can offer something to the younger folks that are working out there within education, whatever their role is, I am happy to do that, not to push it on them. I want to be able to share my experiences.”

Bazylak said that he has been watching the trajectory of MN-S in aspects including education, health, youth housing and post-secondary.

“It’s just exciting to be a part of that team and the forward movement that’s going on with our government, but also with all of our administration staff, so I’m looking forward to it,” he said.

He currently co-chairs the 2030 Provincial Education Plan Implementation Team and sits on the Minister’s Provincial Education Council.

He is the past President of the League of Educational Administrators Directors and Superintendents of Saskatchewan (LEADS) and has served on several volunteer community and education Boards. He is currently active on the Saskatchewan Research Network (SRNET) Board, Catholic Health of Alberta and Saskatchewan (CHAS) Board and is Chair of the Emmanuel Health Board of Directors.

Bazylak currently lives in Saskatoon with his wife Tracy and daughter Alora. When he’s not working, Darryl enjoys spending time with family. He loves to golf and fish. Since Alora was eight, they have kept a tradition of taking a father-daughter fishing trip with friends.

The MN-S said in a release that his experience, education, and personal background are an asset to MN–S. They said goal is to build capacity with strong hires and ambitious, experienced staff who share our vision for the future of the Métis Nation.

By: Michael Oleksyn, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Prince Albert Daily Herald