Toronto Catholic's new chair Jo-Ann Davis (left) and new vice-chair Nancy Crawford. Photo courtesy of the Toronto Catholic District School Board

New chair for Toronto Catholic

  • November 29, 2013

TORONTO - Jo-Ann Davis woke up on Nov. 29 both excited and the new chair of the Toronto Catholic District School Board.

“I woke up this morning super excited thinking about the opportunities that we have and the strength that we have around the horseshoe,” she said. Now it is about “figuring out how we can harness it even better.”

Davis was elected chair of Toronto's Catholic school board Nov. 28 in a split decision over former vice-chair Sal Piccininni, who was replaced by Nancy Crawford.

Davis takes over Ann Andrachuk who, after being elected chair three consecutive times, withheld her name from the running this year. First elected in 2003, Andrachuk will continue to represent Ward 2 but was unavailable to comment on her reason for not seeking a fourth term as chair.

Davis said Andrachuk had indicated she would step away from the position as chair following her election in 2012. Once Andrachuk was out of the running Davis decided she would stand.

“A year ago Ann indicated that she wouldn't be going to run, so clearly we were going to need a new leader,” said Davis. “I had been thinking for some time that this might be something that I would want to do and I think as a trustee at some point each of us are willing to be putting our names forward. This just seemed to be the right time for me on a personal level.”

Although still in the transition period, Davis already knows what she will focus on as the chair of Ontario's largest Catholic school board.

“The job of chair ultimately comes down to two responsibilities,” she said. “One is ensuring the collective confidence in the way decisions are made and two is ensuring collective confidence in the way we are represented outside of the board. So I think for me my priorities are making sure that I make good on both of those.”

She said she will encourage greater communication between the board's 12 trustees and the broader community.

“We've got a municipal election next year (and) we've got likely a provincial election coming up so we've got different opportunities for potentially focusing on public education,” she said. “I think it will be a great time for getting our story out there and letting people know what is happening in our schools.”

Davis also stressed pursuing the goals of the board's multi-year strategic plan.

“We're coming up on the last year of our multi-year strategic plan and we need to be making sure that we are making progress towards that,” she said. “We're now more than half way through and I think as a board we need to be making sure that we are making good on the goals that we set. It is getting into crunch time for that.”

While acknowledging all of the work she will face over the next year, Davis cannot contain her excitement.

“I am really excited about potential opportunities over the next year.”

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