School boards elect leaders

BROCKVILLE – Trustees with the region’s two English-language school boards began their 2022-26 terms holding inauguration meetings last week and electing the board’s chair and vice-chair.

At the Upper Canada District School Board, Ward 4 Trustee John McAllister was acclaimed as trustee board chair at its meeting November 17. This is McAllister’s fifth consecutive one-year term as chair. He led the UCDSB throughout the entire 2018-22 term and has served as a trustee with the board since 2010. McAllister is a former village councillor and reeve of the pre-amalgamation Village of Iroquois and a retired secondary school teacher – having taught at Seaway District High School.

“I’m excited to serve as Chair for the Board, especially with so many new faces at the table,” said McAllister. “I’m proud and humbled that my fellow trustees have bestowed their confidence in me once again.”

The race for the vice-chair position had two nominees for the position.

Two candidates were nominated, Ward 3 Trustee Jamie Schoular and Ward 10 Trustee Corina Parisien. Parisien won the trustee vote by “a clear majority” and will serve as vice-chair for a one year term.

“I look forward to the next four years and I’m excited to sit as Vice-Chair this year,” Parisien said. “I think we are going to be doing some wonderful things for education and look forward to what we will be bringing to the table.”

No vote count was released by the board.

Ward 8 Trustee David McDonald was acclaimed as the Ontario Public School Boards’ Association director, Ward 3 Trustee Jamie Schoular was acclaimed as the alternate director.

The retirement of long-standing trustees Ron Eamer and Todd Lalonde at the end of the 2018-22 meant a change in leadership at the Catholic District School Board of Eastern Ontario board. Eamer led the trustee board for 10 years, and served as vice-chair for three one-year terms. Lalonde served 16 years as trustee, and 11 years as vice-chair or chair.

Those retirements see two new trustees leading the board, which held its inaugural meeting November 16.

Trustee Sue Wilson (Prescott-Russell) was elected chair of the English-Catholic board, Trustee Karen McAllister (Dundas and Stormont) was elected vice-chair. Wilson has served as trustee since 2001. This is her first term as chair. McAllister has been a trustee since 2006 – this is also her first term as vice-chair.

“We have an amazing team at CDSBEO, and we all come to the table with our shared purpose to serve the betterment of the students in our care,” Wilson said after her election. “It is always a pleasure to witness the wonderful things happening in our schools and the ongoing successes of our students.”

McAllister thanked fellow trustees for their support. “I look forward to the coming year in my role as vice chair.”

Both boards saw an influx of new trustees by acclamation or election in the October 24 school board election.

The UCDSB has four rookie trustees this term: Lynda Johnston (Ward 1); Carole Dufort (Ward 2); Michel Labonte (Ward 5); and Curtis Jordan (Ward 9). Three new trustees joined the CDSBEO: Christopher Cummings (Brockville, Smiths Falls, and Leeds); Donna Nielsen (Cornwall and Glengarry); and Karen Torrie-Racine (Cornwall and Glengarry).

Phillip Blancher, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Morrisburg Leader