Peel board names Tony Pontes as new director of education

Pontes brings "positive relationships, extensive Peel experience, optimistic and inspiring leadership," says board chair

TORONTO, Feb. 1 /CNW/ - The Peel District School Board has selected Tony Pontes as the new director of education. Pontes, currently superintendent of staff development and school support services and a 31-year employee with the Peel board, will assume the new role on March 1, 2010. He succeeds retiring director Jim Grieve who in November became the assistant deputy minister with the Ministry of Education. Since that point, Judith Nyman has served as the interim director of education.

"We were impressed by the quality of all the applicants we considered," says Janet McDougald, chair of the board. "Each candidate spoke about the positive reputation of this board and the outstanding quality of our staff. Though the candidates had many strengths, Tony Pontes was our clear choice. Not only does he bring an understanding of our organization, and critical continuity and stability, he also has a network of positive relationships throughout our board."

McDougald observes, "Tony has extensive experience in Peel and is known as an optimistic and inspiring leader. As well, his personal knowledge of our Report Card for Student Success means he understands the power of the goals and projects to make a difference for our students."

Says Pontes, "I have always felt honoured to be a learner and a leader in the system that has supported me throughout my life. I know the system and the region well. I have been a Peel resident since 1963, growing up in Streetsville and I now live in Brampton. I am excited knowing I will be working collaboratively with staff, parents and community partners in my new position, in order to enhance student success."

Pontes has spent his entire career in the Peel board. He began his career in 1978 as a teacher of mathematics and woodworking at the then J. A. Turner Secondary School. After time as a teacher, department head and vice-principal he became principal of Chinguacousy Secondary School and then Mayfield Secondary School. In 2000, Tony's leadership skills were acknowledged by his appointment as superintendent of education. He has had the opportunity to serve as both an elementary and secondary superintendent and that experience provides a key insight into the needs of all of our schools. In 2009, Tony became superintendent of staff development and school support services at the HJA Brown Education Centre. He is also incoming president of the Ontario Public Supervisory Officials' Association.

Says McDougald, "The board is confident Tony will continue to build on Peel's commitment to student success. He has a genuine belief in nurturing and recognizing people at all levels of the organization. His own personal experience immigrating to Canada as a child from Portugal also gives him unique insight and a strong connection to our newcomer population. He is committed to expanding our work with our diverse communities. We know that our staff and community will welcome him warmly and support him in his new role in Peel."

Peel trustees began the hiring process in the fall. With the assistance of an executive search consultant, the board conducted focus groups with key stakeholders about the qualities and experience the new director should bring to the job and conducted an online survey that provided valuable feedback. The board advertised in November and held interviews in January. On January 27, trustees conducted second interviews and finalized the contract with Pontes late last week.

The board's five-year contract with Pontes provides an annual salary of $235,000 plus benefits. Additional compensation includes a $10,000 annual car allowance, and seven weeks of vacation.

The Peel board serves 150,000 students in kindergarten to the end of secondary school. Operating 235 schools in the municipalities of Brampton, Caledon and Mississauga with an annual budget of $1.2 billion, the Peel board is the largest employer in Peel.

SOURCE Peel District School Board

For further information: For further information: Media contacts: Janet McDougald, Chair of the Board, (905) 278-1402; Tony Pontes, Director-Designate, tony.pontes@peelsb.com, (905) 890-1010, ext. 2635; Reference: Brian Woodland, Director of Communications & Strategic Partnerships Support Services, brian.woodland@peelsb.com, (905) 890-1010, ext. 2812

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