UCDSB Director of Education announces retirement

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Upper Canada District School Board Director of Education, Stephen Sliwa, has made the challenging decision to retire from his role within the school board, effective June 30, 2021.
“I am grateful for the privilege of serving students, the Board of Trustees, and the local community during my time as the Director of Education,” says Director 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.”

The Director has pointed out that the school district has had a number of challenges that the Board has needed to confront over the past several years, with the largest of these being the vital need for the delivery of student programming during the pandemic, and keeping students connected to learning. “This has not been an easy time for anyone within our school 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. It’s been my pleasure to work alongside you to navigate this complex time for our families. I am proud of all the work we have accomplished, and I know that you will continue this great work.”

Stephen Sliwa has devoted 35 years to public education. He began his career in 1985 as an educational assistant in the Peel District School Board, working with students in day treatment programs. From there, his journey took him to work in three different school districts as a special education teacher, guidance counsellor, vice-principal, principal, and school board executive.

In 2004, he became a Superintendent of Education in the Renfrew County District School Board, transferring over to the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board in 2010, where he served as a Superintendent of Instruction. In 2015, he was appointed by the Upper Canada District School Board as its Director of Education, following an extensive year-long process to hire a new Chief Executive Officer for the school district.

Stephen is active in the community beyond the school board as a member of several local not-for-profit organizations, as well as an executive member of the Council of Ontario Directors of Education, and currently serves as the Chair of the Ontario Institute for Educational Leadership. His ongoing association with the Eastern Ontario Staff Development Network (EOSDN) led to mentoring the next generation of school superintendents, many of whom are working across Ontario in key leadership assignments in the K to 12 education sector.

“It has been a real pleasure to work with Stephen, and I’m looking forward to continuing this collaboration until the end of June. His calm and collected manner and his seasoned leadership are exactly what this school district needed, especially over this past year, which has had many struggles. Stephen has helped us, as Trustees and me as Chair, to become better in our respective roles. 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,” says Chair of the Board John McAllister.

The UCDSB Board of Trustees will begin a formal search process for a new Director of Education. That process will be confirmed early in the new year. The Board expects the new Director of Education to be in place by no later than the summer of 2021.

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