December 1, 2014

Board plans to strengthen reputation, share success of neighbourhood schools, says Peel board chair

Janet McDougald acclaimed as chair, Suzanne Nurse elected as vice-chair at inaugural meeting

At the first meeting of the new board of trustees on Dec. 1, Janet McDougald was acclaimed as chair. McDougald has been a trustee for 26 years, has served as chair for 17 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 ninth year in public office. Trustees also welcomed five new members to the board.

“I value and appreciate the commitment and service of our outgoing trustees—I am inspired by their willingness to serve the cause of public education, and I thank them for all they have done,” McDougald said in her inaugural remarks. “I equally welcome our newly elected trustees and our returning trustees. And, for the same reasons, I thank you—for your willingness to serve, for your desire to help students and parents in your role as trustee of the board.”

In her address, McDougald acknowledged the current efforts of the Peel District School Board’s StAR—Student Attract and Retain—committee, and outlined her hopes for future initiatives. “We need to act on the research we have on what affects parent choice—from curb appeal to bussing distances to uniforms and extracurricular activities. Yet, I believe we also need to have an open, healthy dialogue about regional programs. I am concerned that as a system we over-focus on these amazing programs that can only accommodate a limited number of students.”

“Moving forward, as a board, I want us to look at how we reinforce and strengthen the reputation of the most important element of a successful school board—the neighbourhood school,” said McDougald. “I want us to find new ways to share the successes of the home school—of the schools without specialty programs. I want us to open our minds to new ideas and innovations to support this work—from facility improvements to nurture instructional programs, to more powerful supports to share the successes of these schools.”

Tony Pontes, director of education, also shared some of the major achievements of the past year in the annual report to the board.

“We know that Peel schools are, quite simply, the best place for children to learn and grow. I believe it, our trustees believe it, our staff and families believe it,” said Pontes. “This year, with our Kindergarten Live! events, our Peel Board Advantage Fairs, and with the new funding approved by the board to lower bussing distances, support extracurricular activities and improve curb appeal, we will deliver to our community even more reasons to choose Peel schools.”

View the complete text of McDougald's and Pontes' remarks at


Media contacts:
Tony Pontes, Director of Education, Peel District School Board, 905-890-1010 ex. 2005, [email protected]

Janet McDougald, Chair, Peel District School Board, 905-278-1402

Reference: Kayla Tishcoff, School Communications Specialist, 905-890-1010 ex. 2239, [email protected]

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