The York Region District School Board has parted ways with its director of education, less than a week after a report was released slamming the board and its trustees in the wake of several high-profile incidents of racism.

Director J. Philip Parappally apologized at a board meeting last week for “all the hardship” he had a role in causing at the board over the past few months.

An external probe ordered by the Ministry of Education found “a culture of fear” exists at the school board and that elected trustees failed to exhibit “strong and ethical leadership” in the face of allegations of racism brought against a former trustee and a Markham school principal.

The Markham principal was found to be posting Islamophobic material to Facebook while in another instance, trustee Nancy Elgie was heard referring to a parent using a racial slur at a meeting in November 2016. She resigned in February 2017.

The probe found “here was a complete absence among board members of any appreciation of their obligation to take a strong and unequivocal stand against racism and intolerance at the YRDSB,” in relation to these incidents.

“We wish to acknowledge Mr. Parappally’s 17 years of service with our Board and wish him the very best in the next chapter of his life,” Board chair Loralea Carruthers said in a news release.

Associate Director of Education Leslie Johnstone has been named acting director while the board engages in a search for a new candidate.

The board says it will be working with the Ministry of Education as it searches for Parappally’s replacement.