December 5, 2016

Peel board chair says most important work of elected board in next decade is being “caring, courageous leaders in equity and inclusion”

​Janet McDougald acclaimed as chair, Suzanne Nurse acclaimed as vice-chair at organizational meeting​ 

At their annual meeting on Dec. 5, Peel District School Board trustees acclaimed Janet McDougald, trustee for Mississauga wards 1 and 7, as chair. McDougald has been a trustee for 28 years, has served as chair for 19 years and was previously vice-chair for three years. Suzanne Nurse, trustee for Brampton wards 2 and 6, was acclaimed as vice-chair. Nurse is starting her 11th year in public office.

In her remarks, McDougald outlined the Peel board's key equity and inclusion initiatives, including staff and student censuses, and the Journey Ahead—the board's commitment to equitable hiring and promotion. She emphasized the crucial role of school boards to ensure that learning environments are inclusive to everyone.

"If we want each student to achieve personal excellence—as our Plan for Student Success says—then as a board, we need to be caring, courageous leaders about equity and inclusion," McDougald said in her remarks. "In fact, in the next decade, it is the most important work an elected board can do—and our community, and history, will judge us on the measure of our continuous progress. And deservedly so." ​

"It is not work that is 'safe' or 'easy' or where we will always achieve consensus," said McDougald, in regards to the Peel board's equity initiatives that recognize and provide support to marginalized groups, such as First Nations Métis and Inuit students, black male youth and LGBTQ students. "Yet, as leaders, the clear message is: it's the right work. It is courage that drives us forward to do the right thing—the right work—that's the message that rings true for each of us."

Said McDougald, "It is our role, as elected trustees, to continue to lead those courageous conversations. And not to be afraid of dissent or disagreement. It's not a sign of a problem—it is an opportunity for progress."

"Our role is clear—to listen, to be respectful to the community and to each other, and to seek the input of those we serve," said McDougald. "We need to be accessible, approachable, accountable and transparent in our work. Always. And I am proud of this board for those qualities."

"And I know, with mutual respect, with open minds, with the strength to do what is right, and the dedication to be courageously caring on equity and inclusion, together, we will inspire hope."

View the complete text of McDougald's and Director of Education Tony Pontes' remarks.


Media contact: Janet McDougald, Chair, Peel District School Board, 905-278-1402, [email protected]

Reference: Kayla Tishcoff, Communications Officer, Peel District School Board, 905-890-1010
ext. 2239, [email protected]

Find Your School