Toronto school board appoints new interim education director

The Toronto District School Board has appointed a new interim director of education as it continues its search to find a permanent director.

The board said Tuesday night that Dr. Kathy Witherow will take over the role from Carlene Jackson next week.

Jackson was appointed interim director of education in July following the retirement of former permanent director Jon Malloy. That same month Jackson said she would be leaving the post by mid-October in order to become Ontario’s new comptroller general.

Since 2018, Witherow has served as associate director of leadership, learning, and school improvement at the TDSB.

“Kathy has been instrumental in leading, developing and implementing our return to school plans,” TDSB Chair Alexander Brown said in a statement. “As we continue to face the changing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and its implications for teaching and learning and school safety, the board has every confidence that Kathy will provide both exceptional experience and strong leadership for Toronto’s public schools.”

Witherow’s experience includes many years as an elementary and secondary classroom teacher, a special education teacher and a school administrator. She has also taught at the university level. She worked at the Ministry of Education before joining the TDSB.

Witherow’s first day on the job will be Oct. 10.

“The TDSB has outstanding staff who are working tirelessly to put our students first,” Witherow said in a statement. “I look forward to continuing working together with all educational partners as we focus on ensuring all of our students are once again back to school, either in-person or virtual, and that the learning experiences are safe, engaging, and centred on the identity and strengths of each of our students.

“Our focus continues to be on equitable access to inclusive learning environments during our response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The TDSB has said that it is hoping to find a new permanent replacement by November, but in an email to in the summer, the board said it would appoint a new interim director if a permanent replacement could not be found in time.

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