New TDSB director Quan says 'storm shall pass'
Published Friday, January 18, 2013 11:45AM EST
Last Updated Friday, January 18, 2013 4:58PM EST
Donna Quan, the new acting director of education at the Toronto District School Board, says she wants to move past the upheaval of the past week to refocus on learning and teaching in order to bring stability to the organization.
Quan was chosen Thursday to become the new acting director of the board, following two divisive school board trustee meetings this week.
Her appointment follows the resignation of former director Chris Spence, who stepped down last week after admitting to plagiarizing portions of a newspaper op-ed piece earlier this month, as well as perhaps portions of other works.
Though Quan has stepped into the role since Spence’s departure, the trustees had to debate what position to offer Quan: interim director, acting director or permanent director.
On Friday, Quan acknowledged Spence’s “tremendous leadership” but said she’s relieved there’s now some stability to her role.
“I now need to refocus our energies,” she told reporters Friday. “I acknowledge the fact that the last week has been a little bit stormy but the storm will pass and we will move on and I’m prepared to move on collectively, with the united team here.”
She added: “We will have to work hard at restoring public confidence in one of the finest education systems in the world, but I intend to do that by putting the focus on teaching and learning and fine facilities in a fiscally responsible way.”
Quan said she also aims to fix the board’s finances. She got a bit of good news on her first day: the province announced Friday it would release $10 million from its funding freeze to renovate three overcrowded schools in Toronto.
Quan is a 25-year veteran of the TDSB. She has served as the deputy director of the TDSB for the past two and a half years, and has had a number of other positions within the board. Before that she was both a teacher and a principal.
“We need to pause and just let Donna be able to work the magic with the system," TDSB Chair Chris Bolton said.
The final details of Quan’s contract as acting director are still being worked out, but she will now assume the leadership until the board finds a permanent replacement for Spence.
Quan will be keeping all of Spence’s initiatives, including his alternative schools program, but she will outline her main priorities in the coming weeks.
The last acting director held the position for more than three years before a permanent director was found.