The Gleaner

New and familiar faces take on different roles at the NFSB

In recent weeks, the New Frontiers School Board (NSFB) has announced a series of major shuffles to its administrative core of principals, centre directors and directors at the board office.

“There are a lot of changes,” says Rob Buttars, who has officially stepped down as NFSB director general. “We had retirements that took place this year and, in some cases, administrators had been in their placements for several years and were looking for new challenges,” he explains. In most cases, administrators were not moved during the pandemic, so the usual changes that take place behind the scenes simply did not happen over the last few years.

To meet this challenge, Buttars says they looked to strike a balance between what is best for the schools and centres, the students, staff, and the administrators.

At the elementary level, Carla Shaw, who is currently teaching at Chateauguay Valley Regional high school (CVR), will take over for Eveline Taylor as principal at Franklin and Hemmingford Elementary. Bonnie Mitchell, who has been with the NFSB since 1993 and is currently serving as the centre director at the NOVA Career Centre, will be moving to Ormstown Elementary School, while Collin Thomas, the current principal at Heritage Elementary in Huntingdon, will take over at St. Willibrord in Chateauguay.

Lynn Harkness, a former teacher and vice-principal at CVR who is currently working as the principal at Mary Gardner School in Chateauguay, will be returning to CVR as principal come fall. Nicholai (Nick) Laframboise, who began his career at the Lester B. Pearson School Board in 2007, will be joining the NFSB family as the principal at Howard S. Billings High School. He will be supported by the arrival of Lina Zielinski, who is currently the principal at Centennial Park School, as vice-principal at the Chateauguay-based high school.

The current centre director at the Chateauguay Valley Career Education Centre in Ormstown and the Huntingdon Adult Education and Community Centre, Derek Stacey, will be moving to the NOVA Career Centre in Chateauguay, and Kara Woods, who has been working with the Lester B. Pearson School Board since 2002, will take over at CVCEC and HAECC as the new centre director.

At the NFSB head office, Kara Johnstone, who joined the NFSB in 1999 as a physical education teacher, has been named director of systems and information technology services. Nancy Richer, who is currently serving as principal at Ormstown Elementary School, will become the new coordinator of instructional services.

“We are looking forward to next year,” says Michael Helm, who took over as director general in early June. He confirms only one position (the posting for Heritage Elementary in Huntingdon) remains to be filled for the 2023-2024 school year, and suggests this is good news for the board as well as the extended NFSB community.

This has been a difficult year for the administrators at the NFSB. “The expectation was that everything would be back to normal, and we would be able to get back to a regular routine,” says Buttars; but sick leaves within the administrative ranks have led to non-stop juggling of administrative teams at schools and centres since January.

“People are still dealing with a lot, and we still have to be very sensitive to this,” says Helm, who admits the break will do everyone good. “We’ll have a summer, and get off and running in the fall,” he says, while maintaining the schools will still be very attentive to the needs to administrators, staff, and families, as the community continues to recover from the impacts of the pandemic.

Among those administrators who will be retiring at the end of this year is Eveline Taylor, who will finish her distinguished career at the NFSB as principal at Franklin and Hemmingford Elementary Schools. Gary Tennant, who stepped up and has filled in as principal at CVR since March, will also be taking a well-deserved retirement.

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