UCDSB Director of Education to retire
BROCKVILLE – After 35 years in public education, Upper Canada District School Board Director of Education Stephen Sliwa is retiring at the end of this school year.
Sliwa, who has been Director of Education since 2015, announced his retirement at the December 16th trustee board meeting.
“I am grateful for the privilege of serving students, the Board ofTrustees, and the local community during my time as the Director of Education,” said Sliwa. “I have enjoyed the opportunity to provide leadership to staff, who have significantly elevated the operation of our schools and have generated a greater range of partnerships in our community that enhance the experiences of our students.”
He said that the board has had to deal with challenges over his tenure at the board, the largest being adapting educating students in a pandemic.
“This has not been an easy time for anyone within our board, but I give credit to all UCDSB staff for going above and beyond the call of duty while fully attending to students during this historic time,” he said. “I am proud of all the work we have accomplished, and I know that you will continue this great work.”
Sliwa began his career 35 years ago as an educational assistant at the Peel District School Board working in special education day treatment programs.
His career has progressed from teacher to guidance councillor, then into administration as vice-principal, principal, and then superintendent. He joined the UCDSB in 2015 from the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board.
During his career at the UCDSB he oversaw the 2016-17 “Building for the Future” pupil accommodation review process which closed eight schools across the board including Rothwell-Osnabruck Secondary in Ingleside and Benson Public School in Cardinal.
Since then, new school construction in Brockville and Cornwall and several planned expansions to schools including in Williamstown, Kemptville, and Avonmore have been approved by the government.
“It has been a real pleasure to work with Stephen, and I’m looking forward to continuing this collaboration until the end of June,” said UCDSB chair John McAllister. “I want to thank Stephen for all the work he has done to move this board forward. His dedication to his work and our students has never gone unnoticed.”
Sliwa’s replacement may be completely different from previous Directors of Education hired by the UCDSB.
This past summer, the Ontario government included an amendment in its omnibus Bill 197, the COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act. That bill amended the Education Act, removing the requirement that a Director of Education must be a certified teacher or have a Supervisory Officer’s Certificate from the Ontario College of Teachers.
The move was panned by Education Minister Stephen Lecce as a way moderninzing the hiring of directors and being more inclusive for the top spot.
According to the Toronto Star, more than 10 of Ontario’s 72 school boards are looking to replace retiring directors of education this school year.
The UCDSB board of trustees will begin their search process for Sliwa’s replacement early this year.
Sliwa formally retires at the end of June 2021.