BROCKVILLE – The region’s largest school board now has a new Director of Education. Ron Ferguson was selected by trustees as the new top administrator and replaces Stephen Sliwa, who retires at the end of June.
Ferguson has been a superintendent at the UCDSB since 2017 and is an 18-year employee having previously been a principal, vice-principal, and a teacher, mostly in the Lanark area.
“A Director of Education needs to have a high level of personal and professional integrity, have a student-first mindset, be collaborative, compassionate, decisive and accountable,” said chair John McAllister. “Ron has demonstrated these qualities time and time again through his teaching and progressive leadership with our board.”
As superintendent, Ferguson has worked on equity and inclusion, school operations, special education and human resources.
“The UCDSB is at the core of who I am. I’ve learned from our teachers, I’ve worked side-by-side with our principals and our senior leadership team, and I’ve had great guidance along the way,” Ferguson said in a release. “I’m looking forward to taking all that I’ve learned and to continue to provide innovative, transparent and effective leadership to our organization.”
While there has been a change at the top of the administration structure for the school board, local schools in South Dundas remain unaffected.
Acting Secretary to the Board Roger Richard told UCDSB trustees at their May 12 regular meeting that the new principal and vice-principal postings for the next school year have minimal changes. “Owing to the pandemic and the need for continuity in school leadership to the greatest extent possible,” he said.
Seaway District High School already received a new principal this school year with Trent Carter-Edwards taking over for Geoff Trasuk midway through the school year. Vice-principal Raena McMullen joined Seaway in February 2021.
Iroquois Public School and Morrisburg Public School administrators remain unchanged.
Also at the UCDSB May 12 meeting, trustees approved the 2021-22 school year calendar. There will be seven professional development days throughout the school year, including three before students return to class in the fall. September 1-3 will be the first PD days, and students will begin the school year on September 7.
Christmas Break is set for December 20 to December 31, with students returning to school on January 3, 2022.
Barring any pandemic restrictions, March Break will be the week of March 14-18.
For secondary school students, the first half of the next school year will follow the quadmester system that has been used throughout the current school year.
Four other PD days are scheduled for November 26, 2021, February 1, 2022, May 27, and June 28. The last day of the school year is June 27, 2022.
The UCDSB is also sending seven proposals for expanding existing schools or building new schools.
Expansion plans include a $8.7M program and childcare addition at Wellington Public School in Prescott, and a $5.4M gym and childcare addition for South Branch Public School in Kemptville.
New school construction projects include replacing Eamer’s Corners Public School in Cornwall ($12M), and replacing Perth and District Collegiate Institute ($24.6M).
The board is submitting three proposals relating to Caldwell Public School and Carleton Place District High School. The first is for a $36.3M K-12 facility to replace the two schools with one building, and separate proposals for CPS ($8.7M) and CPDHS ($29.8M).
Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Morrisburg Leader