English school board seeks new superintendent

Education department hopes to have new superintendent for the new year

Nancy MacPhee nmacphee@journalpioneer.com
Published on November 16, 2012
Jane McMillan finishes as interim superintendent at the end of the year and is not seeking the position.
Journal Pioneer file photo

The hunt is on for a superintendent of education for the province’s English Language School Board.

The contract of interim board superintendent Jane McMillan ends Dec. 31.

McMillan, superintendent for more than a year of the soon-to-be dissolved Western School Board, took on the role as of July 1. She will not be offering her name for the job.

“I never intended to stay beyond six months. That was the agreement that I made with the two interim trustees,” McMillan said Wednesday following the Western School Board’s November meeting.

“I am retirement age. I have been working in education for a very long time, well over 32 years. I felt at this point I really would like to probably not work full-time.”

She became superintendent of Western board in 2011, moving into the position having previously served as a superintendent in Ontario, a teacher, department head, vice-principal, elementary and high school principal and senior board leader.

When asked if the daunting task of steering the new super board into the future played into her decision, McMillan said no.

“To be quite honest, the issue was more that I wanted to reduce the amount of hours I was travelling,” she said, referring to the travel involved in the job with the board’s 57 schools spread out from East Point to North Cape.

“Also, my husband has been retired for a number of years and I just felt that, at this point, rather than speed up I wanted to slow down.”

McMillan admitted that not all the goals she set out to achieve since moving into this province’s education system have come to fruition or completion.

What she is most pleased about are the gains in literacy and student achievement.

“It’s been an amazing journey,” said McMillan. “When I look at the Western School Board results in Grade 6 non-fiction writing, we’ve increased by almost 20 per cent, which we are proud of because it means that many more students are writing to standard and have an exponentially better chance of big success in high school.”

The search is now underway for the superintendent of education.

Ads have appeared in Island newspapers and the job has been posted electronically throughout the Maritimes, said interim trustee, Gary Doucette.

He, along with a six-member committee, will review applications and make a recommendation to Education and Early Childhood Minister Alan McIsaac on the best candidate for the job.

The hope is to have a new superintendent of education in place in the new year — when the current English-language boards dissolve and the new board takes over.

“It is an important position,” said Doucette. “We really need someone who has a vision and a focus and is willing to work with folks to move things forward.”

Application deadline is Nov. 21. Among the qualifications are a master’s degree in education administration, curriculum or related field; eligibility for a P.E.I. Teacher’s Certificate; at least five years as a school principal; and a minimum four years in a senior supervisory role within a school system.

Doucette said the hope is that recently appointed trustees of the English Language School Board would have some input into the decision.

That board, along with the superintendent, who will act as its chief executive officer, will oversee more than 19,000 students and 2,570 staff in 57 schools.

Doucette said McMillan’s work, both with the Western School Board and as interim superintendent of the new board, has been immeasurable. He added that he was disappointed to hear she would not be seeking the position.

“From a Western School Board perspective, Jane exceeded what we thought we were getting, not only in her work ethic but her ability to be able to sit and listen to folks and to get people to agree in difficult situations,” said Doucette, the former chair of the Western board.

“She’s always looking at student learning and student achievement. She will be missed.”