Board appoints new director of education
Chris Roehrig replaces Dr. Vince MacDonald in top job in April 2019
After six years as director of education for the Huron Perth Catholic District School Board, Dr. Vince MacDonald has announced he will be stepping down from the role in April.
“It’s just a season-of-life kind of thing,” MacDonald told the Beacon over the phone Wednesday. “I love my work and I spent 31 years in education and I absolutely love this role, but it’s ... time to move on to other journeys.”
In preparation for MacDonald’s departure, recently elected board of trustees chair Amy Cronin announced the appointment of Chris Roehrig as director of education and secretary to the board at Monday’s inaugural board of trustees meeting.
“I would say Chris brings with him extensive leadership abilities and experience,” Cronin said. “... He understands Huron-Perth because he spent a lot of his career in Huron-Perth as a vice-principal, a principal, and he really spoke to what Huron Perth stands for through the interview process.
“He talked about a focus on student achievement and wellbeing, and faith formation routed in gospel values.”
For the past six years, Roehrig has served as director of education with the Brant Haldimand Norfolk Catholic District School Board. Prior to that, he also served as superintendent of education responsible for secondary school supervision, curriculum, and human resources.
In Huron-Perth, Roehrig was vice principal at St. Anne’s Catholic Secondary School in Clinton, and Principal at both St. Anne’s and St. Mary’s Catholic School in Goderich.
“I’ve been with my current board for -- this is my seventh year. That’s a long time as director, so I was excited to search for a new challenge, and I’ve always kind of had one eye on Huron-Perth. My daughter was born there, we still holiday there, we have friends in Huron County, so I’ve always kind of had my eye on the place, hoping I could find my way back,” Roehrig said.
Having been appointed director of education at the same time as MacDonald, Roehrig said that he and the outgoing Huron-Perth director have become close colleagues and even friends over the past six years. As he also knows many of the trustees and senior staff, Roehrig said he is excited to work for a board with such a stellar track record in the province.
“It’s a high-achieving and fantastic school district, and it’s had strong leadership,” Roehrig said. “... It’s exciting to join a team like that, where you know you’ve got really good people that comprise the senior administration and the trustees.
“... Again, they’re a student-focused group and a kind and compassionate group, and a hardworking group.”
As for MacDonald’s departure, Cronin said she and the board will miss the outgoing director’s commitment to providing for the needs of staff, students, and parents throughout the school board.
“He’s a collaborator. He’s a leader. He has a focus on the vision and the strategic plan that the trustees have set out for him, and we’re definitely going to miss him,” Cronin said.
During his tenure as director of education, MacDonald oversaw the implementation of teacher training for new technologies; the promotion of education surrounding social justice causes endorsed by the school board; the development of a mental-health support strategies for students and staff; and the application of 21st-century learning through real-world problem solving and experiential education, among other initiatives.
“I just absolutely love this role and I feel privileged to have had a chance to play a role in the development of children and youth,” MacDonald said.
Though he’s not exactly sure what life has in store for him next, MacDonald will spend the next several months preparing Roehrig for his new role, which he will officially step into on April 18, 2019.
Also at the board of trustees’ inaugural meeting Monday night, Cronin herself was elected to a second term as chair. Elected to serve alongside Cronin as vicechair was Jim McDade, a retired teacher, principal, and co-ordinator with the school board.
McDade has served on the board of trustees representing the areas of Ashfield-Colborne-Wawanosh, North Huron, Howick, Central Huron, Morris-Turnberry and Goderich since 2007, while Cronin has served on the board since 2011 as a representative for Huron East, Perth East, and North Perth. gsim[email protected]media.com