Martha Rogers, Director of Education at the Upper Grand District School Board (UGDSB), will be continuing on with her role in the school board, extending her retirement date into next year.
The UGDSB announced on Nov. 10 that Rogers would be delaying her original retirement date, which was scheduled for the end of December 2020, by seven months, with her new retirement date now set for the end of August 2021.
“Dr. Rogers has agreed to extend her retirement date and this has been approved by the Board,” said UGDSB Chair Martha MacNeil, during the board’s business operations meeting on Nov. 10. “Tonight, I am pleased to make this announcement public to advise our educational community and beyond of this decision.”
The main reason for the extension to her retirement date Rogers told the Free Press was due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The extension is primarily about coping,” said Rogers. “The school system, the staff, the parents, people want stability and COVID-19 is so scary, it’s stressful, and people want it just to have predictability and stability.”
“We’re living through [an] unprecedented time right now, and our system clearly has a lot going on and so the stability of having our leader, who we’ve had for 25 years, to stay with us for a little bit longer, we thought that was a good idea,” MacNeil added.
“We are grateful for Dr. Rogers’ leadership during these challenging times and for the stability her extended retirement date will provide for the system,” said MacNeil.
Rogers has worked in the education system for more than 46 years, serving as a primary consultant with the Dufferin County Board of Education in the 1980s, before her move to Wellington. Rogers has been the Director of Education for the Upper Grand District School Board since 1995, making her the longest serving Director in Ontario and one of the longest Directors in Canada.
“Whether you have been serving as a Director for 25 weeks or 25 years, this pandemic has brought challenges to all school boards,” said Rogers in a press release to the public. “This has been a very difficult time to many in our communities.”
With her retirement date now delayed until later next year Roger said that in the next few months she is hoping to have as little change as possible.
“Usually I would see myself as a change agent with huge plans, but I think what the system needs now is predictability and stability,” said Rogers.
“I don’t have big plans for change. I have big plans for no change.”
Rogers, the school board says, will continue working with senior staff, trustees, educational partners, and the community to “address the fiscal and logistical challenges” that the 2020 school year has brought on.
Rogers told the Free Press that the school board is predicting a deficit of more than $14 million at the end of the year.
The Board will be continuing with the process of selecting a new Director of Education to replace Rogers, when she leaves in August 2021.
Paula Brown, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Shelburne Free Press