As I write this column on a hot and sunny August day, it is hard to imagine we are just three and a half weeks away from the first day of school, scheduled for Wed., Sept. 7. While most kids are still basking in the summer days, many of us here at the TDSB are gearing up for the first day.
As your trustee for Ward 11, I have already set up two virtual community events: a back-to-school coffee morning, scheduled for the morning of Sept. 28, and an evening ward forum on Oct. 3. These coffee mornings are informal – we will be joined by our two Ward 11 superintendents – and these are meant to be casual conversations with attendees about the new school year and education in Ward 11. The evening event will be more structured, focusing on school space, planning and development, and featuring a presentation by two TDSB planners. With so much development taking place all over midtown and in Leaside, I am hopeful attendees will find this event to be of value.
As Leaside families turn their attention towards the start of a new school year, they may notice a few new faces among our administrative teams, particularly in our elementary schools. This is not uncommon, as one change often produces a domino effect, requiring multiple changes system-wide.
At Northlea, outgoing principal Barbara Sandler is moving to Fraser Mustard Early Learning Academy, making way for Suzy Papadopoulos to join the Northlea community. Ms. Papadopoulos was recently promoted to principal after highly successful Vice Principal postings at Howard PS in High Park and Jackman PS in the Danforth area – where both schools had communities similar to Leaside. This will prepare her well to serve Northlea.
Over at Bessborough, Principal Dima Nijmeh-Mantia is moving closer to home, and is being replaced by Janet Bambrick, who comes to Bessborough after being promoted from VP at Gledhill Junior Public School. Ms. Bambrick also brings a wealth of experience involving music programming, having served as central coordinator for music at the TDSB prior to becoming a school administrator.
At Rolph Road PS, Principal Sandra Larosa has retired, and is being replaced by the VP at Bessborough – Frances Themeliopoulos – who has been promoted to principal. Clearly, Ms. Themeliopoulos’s experience and personal relationships with many Leaside families from her years at Bessborough will be an asset as she steps into her new role at Rolph. And finally, to fill this added vacancy at Bessborough, the community will welcome newly-promoted VP Lynette Bacon, who comes to us with stellar reviews from Brown PS.
These changes clearly provide an example of the domino effect I mentioned above. It is also a reflection of the makeup of our leadership team, where we have seen many retirements but also have a wealth of younger, fresh administrators, system-wide. With so many newly-minted administrators, we can expect a lot of youthful energy coming into our schools, with leaders who understand the importance of modern curriculum leadership and connection with students and their families. At the same time, it is wonderful to know our veteran superintendent of Leaside schools, Andrew Howard (a former Northlea principal himself), will be alongside these new leaders to mentor them and ensure their success.
If you have children at any of these schools, I hope you will join me in welcoming all of them to our wonderful community, and I encourage families to introduce themselves to these new Leaside leaders who are very excited to get this new school year started!
To learn more about my coffee mornings, upcoming ward forum, or to sign up for my e-newsletter, please check out my TDSB web page: https://www.tdsb.on.ca/Ward11/.