On June 2, Janet McDougald, chair of the Peel District School Board for the last 20 years and trustee for 30 years, was awarded the Dr. Harry Paikin Award of Merit to recognize her lasting impact on public education. The honour is presented annually by the Ontario Public School Boards' Association (OPSBA) to an active or retired public school trustee.
"It's been a privilege to represent the Peel community on important public education issues, and to be able to impact the success of current and future Peel students," says Chair McDougald. "Over the past few decades, I've seen first-hand just how important well-funded education is to our communities. It all starts with public education."
Chair McDougald became a trustee for the Peel board in 1988, served as a vice-chair from 1994 to 1997, and as chair since 1998. At the Regular Meeting of the Board on April 10, 2018, Chair McDougald announced that she would not be running in the next election and would be retiring as trustee.
Some highlights for McDougald include:
- successfully advocating with parents and community members to #FixtheFormula to ensure fair funding for special education students in Peel.
- the first expansion of the Regional Learning Choices Program to Gordon Graydon Memorial Secondary School with support from staff, students, corporate sponsors and the community.
- advocating for the full-day early learning kindergarten program in 2010.
- the celebration and official opening of Janet I. McDougald Public School in 2013.
- introducing reduced classroom sizes.
- lowering transportation eligibility distances.
- the rebranding of the Peel board logo in 2003.
"Whether it's welcoming newcomer families to Peel region, advocating for funding to support classrooms and curriculum needs, or ensuring safe, inclusive spaces for all, Janet is a defender of public education," says Peter Joshua, director of education. "Throughout it all, her focus has always been, first and foremost, about supporting student success."
As Chair McDougald reflects on the transformation of the board in the last 30 years, she says she values the ongoing commitment from the board to continue its work on equity and inclusion. Looking forward, Chair McDougald hopes that the focus of future boards will be to provide social and mental health supports, as well as to develop poverty reduction strategies for the Peel communities.
"I'm proud of everything the Peel board has accomplished to inspire success, confidence and hope in each student," says Chair McDougald. "I know that guided by our mission, vision and values, the board will continue to respect, protect and advocate for well-funded public education."
The Dr. Harry Paikin Award of Merit was presented to Chair McDougald at OPSBA's 30th Annual General Meeting and Program on June 2 in Niagara Falls. For more information about the OPSBA Awards, visit www.opsba.org.
Media contact: Janet McDougald, Chair, Peel District School Board, 905-278-1402, firstname.lastname@example.org
Reference: Nav Sahota, School Communications Specialist, 905-890-1010, ext. 2626, email@example.com