New education director to build on past to make better future

  • August 23, 2013

TORONTO - The Toronto Catholic District School Board’s new director of education is “totally revved up for it to be September again” so she can continue to build on work already done.

Angela Gauthier took over the role from Bruce Rodrigues Aug. 1. Prior to her new appointment, Gauthier spent five years as the board’s associate director of academic affairs, one of many titles she’s held over the years with the board.

“I know this board very well and I’m comfortable transitioning into the role because I’ve served in so many capacities here,” she said. “The board dealt with a large number of very important and heavy issues and I think that having someone in the role that has lived through that, has seen the good and the not so good that this board has been through, brings a sense of stability to the role. It allows me to hit the ground running.”

Now that Gauthier is settled into her third floor office in the Catholic Education Centre, she’s established three main areas of focus. First and foremost Gauthier said the Multi-Year Strategic Plan, which was introduced to the board by Rodrigues when he became director of education in 2011, must remain an integrel aspect of Toronto Catholic.

“That plan is important because it reflects the Catholic lens that we need to bring to all of our thinking,” she said.

Secondly, Gauthier said that it is essential the board continue to be recognized as making positive contributions to the local community, the province and Canada as a whole. Doing this will require the board to strengthen its ties with not only the community it serves but the entire non-Catholic component of society.

“Our challenge really is to ensure that a faith-based education system is appreciated,” said the graduate of Toronto’s Madonna Catholic Secondary School. “We need to speak out and be more present. I’d love to be able to pick up any newspaper, not just The Catholic Register, and see articles about our schools, our students and not just the public (counterparts).”

Finally, Gauthier intends to build more extensive ties between schools and their associated parishes.

“We have some schools that are extremely active within the parish and others that are a little bit less so,” she said. “I would like to be able to say that each and every one of our schools enjoys a really healthy active relationship with their parish. That trilogy of home, school and parish is truly the foundation of our Catholic education.”

While Gauthier admits she is just building on work already done by Rodrigues, things will be slightly different.

“People are weary when you are implementing change after change after change,” she said. “Connecting to what has been happening over the last two years is important. We don’t want to lose sight of that. Continuing in that way is important (but) it will look different because I am not Bruce.”

She also intends to be present in schools.

“I will continue to make sure that I am visibly present in the schools ... so that the director isn’t just somebody who hides behind the door in the office.”

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