Bloodletting continues at Dept. of Education

High-ranking officials with the Yukon Department of Education continue to march out the door.

High-ranking officials with the Yukon Department of Education continue to march out the door.

As of Tuesday afternoon, Albert Trask, the former assistant deputy minister of education, whose questionable credentials caused a firestorm last year, no longer had a job with the department.

Trish Smillie, director of student support services, is also out. But no one is saying whether they resigned or were fired.

“We thank both of them for their service and wish them all the best in their future endeavours. As this is a personnel matter, we will not be commenting further,” spokesperson Ronuk Modha said in a written statement.

The pair are the latest top education officials to leave the department since Minister Doug Graham took over the portfolio.

Deputy minister Val Royle resigned from her position last month. She was one of Trask’s most vocal supporters when his credentials came under fire.

Trask, who used the honorific “Dr.” in official correspondence, got into hot water in November after it was revealed he earned his PhD from an unaccredited online U.S. bible college, which expects students to do considerably less work than similar, accredited institutions.

When this came to light, Trask’s duties included sitting on the board that evaluates the credentials of teachers to determine their salary level.

Royle sent out a lengthy statement defending Trask and his credentials, though she said he wasn’t hired based on his PhD.

Shortly afterwards, Trask stopped using the honorific because he said the issue had become a distraction from his work.

Graham became education minister during a massive Yukon Party cabinet shuffle in January. He declined an interview request this week.

Cabinet spokesperson Elaine Schiman said the department was acting “according to the established practice” by providing little information on the sudden departures. The cabinet does not have any additional comments, she said.

When Royle left, the department issued a public statement explicitly saying that she resigned. Neither Schiman nor Modha offered any explanation as to why they won’t say as much this time around.

Contact Ashley Joannou at

ashleyj@yukon-news.com