After nearly 40 years of service with the Dufferin-Peel Catholic school board, John Kostoff is stepping down as director of education but he isn't headed to retirement yet. Register file photo

Respected educator Kostoff stepping down

  • July 19, 2015

MISSISSAUGA, Ont. - After spending the better part of four decades with the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board, John Kostoff will soon be saying goodbye.

Starting as a teacher and making it through the ranks to director of education, a position he’ll have held for 10 years upon stepping down Jan. 15, Kostoff has served the board for 38 years. 

“Ten years as a director and four years previous to that as associate director is a pretty significant service in terms of the board,” he said. “It is time for a new voice to come forward and for opportunities for other people to step into leadership.”

While one door closes for Kostoff, another will open. He won’t be riding off into retirement. Instead, Kostoff is taking over as the executive director of the Ontario Catholic Supervisory Officers’ Association (OCSOA) when Theresa Harris steps down in January.

“It is gratifying to see someone of John’s strength coming forward to pick up the reins,” said Harris, praising Kostoff’s dedication to “promoting the gifts of Catholic education.”

While the OCSOA looks forward to having Kostoff, those at Dufferin-Peel have mixed emotions.

“While we are truly sorry to see him go we are at the same time happy for him as he embarks on the next phase of his life,” said Mario Pascucci, chair of the board of trustees. “The impact of his work, both locally and at the provincial level, has been significant.”

That work did not go unnoticed around the province as Kostoff garnered recognition and numerous awards over his career, including the Ontario Library Association’s Administrator of the Year, the 2014 Ontario Catholic Schools Trustees’ Association Special Award and the OCSOA Distinguished Leadership award.

While Kostoff said he will always look fondly on his time serving the Dufferin-Peel Catholic community at the local level, “it is time for change.” Kostoff hopes his successor will help the board in “setting different directions, newer directions,” a necessary change with the rapidly evolving education landscape of today. But that change needs to have a purpose, a direction and not occur simply for the sake of change.

“It is not simply saying let’s have change for the sake of change,” he said. “Stability is important but in addition to stability is the opportunity for new directions and new ways of doing things and looking at things with a fresh set of eyes. The idea is a person who has new ideas and who has demonstrated that and been successful at that.”

Trustees are expected to choose Kostoff’s successor this fall, allowing the new director of education time to work with Kostoff and ensure the board continues working on areas deemed important under Kostoff. Those areas include supporting the improvement of Catholicity within schools, student achievement and a commitment to strategic planning.

Although unwilling to speculate who his predecessor might be Kostoff did say he knows of many qualified individuals.

“There are many qualified people in this board and in this province who can provide leadership,” he said. 

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