On Tuesday, January 28, the Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est (CECCE) Board of Trustees accepted Réjean Sirois’s resignation as Director of Education. He will be retiring on December 31 after a 30-year career in French Catholic education, including 19 years as Director of Education in several school boards.
CECCE Chair Johanne Lacombe congratulated the outgoing Director of Education on his outstanding career, saying, “Mr. Sirois is a man of conviction, and the CECCE benefited tremendously from his leadership. Throughout his career, he has always been driven by a deep desire to provide francophone students with the best possible education.”
One of Mr. Sirois’s standout achievements, in a career marked by many, was his participation in establishing Nova Scotia’s first and only French-language school board. Channelling his innovative vision and dedication to providing the best for every student, he laid a solid foundation for the now-flourishing school board.
Another remarkable accomplishment was his adaptation for francophone students of a proactive reading intervention initiative designed in New Zealand. The strategies he developed in conjunction with a team of education professionals are still in use today thanks in part to the creation of a guide to effective reading instruction.
Among his most valuable and lasting contributions was his instrumental role in building more than 30 French-language schools in communities across New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Ontario. Recognizing that school proximity is one of the most important factors in student recruitment and retention, he helped to expand many school boards and create more space for francophones to live, learn, work and connect. Under his leadership, CECCE enrolment has grown by an impressive 4,000 students.
When Mr. Sirois took over as head of the Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est in 2015, he took on a major challenge: maintain the long-standing tradition of excellence and academic performance in Ontario’s largest French-language school board. He can retire knowing that he succeeded, having done his utmost every day to ensure that francophone students receive the best possible education.
Mr. Sirois is proud to have been part of the team of top-notch professionals that built Kemptville’s Académie catholique Notre-Dame and the École élémentaire catholique Au Coeur d’Ottawa. He is also very proud of the CECCE’s new Centre d’accueil et d’admission, a manifestation of his desire to provide a warm and caring welcome to newcomer families.
According to CECCE Chair Johanne Lacombe, “Mr. Sirois, or ‘Réjean’ as he is known to the Board of Trustees, has seized every opportunity to demonstrate immense gratitude to our principals and vice-principals for their excellent leadership, and to extol the merits of all staff members in our schools and at the Centre éducatif. Now it is my turn to express my sincere gratitude to him. As Chair, I have had the great privilege of working alongside this exceptional man as we pursued our shared mission to create learning environments that enable students to achieve their full potential.”
Réjean Sirois himself emphasized how truly fortunate he is to have spent 30 amazing years in the wonderful field of education. “Working with first-rate professionals throughout my career has been such a pleasure. These exceptional individuals have given me the gift of their knowledge, their know-how and their people skills. Most importantly, they have inspired me to aim ever higher, giving me the strength and courage to step out of my comfort zone, and have encouraged me to constantly challenge my limits, all so that I might provide the best possible education to every student in all seven school boards where I have worked. It has been an honour and a privilege for me to cap off my career in Ontario’s largest and most successful French-language school board.”
The selection process for the CECCE’s next Director of Education is under way. The transition will take place at the beginning of the 2020-21 school year.