Peel District School Board Supervisor Bruce Rodrigues has appointed Colleen Russell-Rawlins as the Peel board's permanent interim director of education. Russell-Rawlins, who is currently an Associate Director of Equity, Well-Being, Early Years and School Improvement with the Toronto District School Board (TDSB), will assume the role on Aug. 5, 2020.
"We are confident that Ms. Russell-Rawlins possesses all the necessary attributes to move the Peel board forward," notes Rodrigues. "She brings with her a strong commitment to student learning and success, an exceptional background in addressing issues of anti-Black, African and Caribbean racism, anti-oppression and equity. We are delighted to have her and look forward to working with her."
"I am honoured to serve as the Interim Director of the Peel board at this pivotal point in its efforts to achieve racial equity and dismantle anti-Black racism. I look forward to learning from and with the Peel community in pursuit of these goals and improving all other aspects of education," says Russell-Rawlins. "Whether we work or send our children to schools in the Peel board, we all have an important role to play in student success. We all share in the leadership, the responsibility and accountability for creating the conditions where all of our children, regardless of their identity, can thrive."
Over her 29-year career, Russell-Rawlins has held a variety of roles in education, including Teacher, Principal, Consultant and Superintendent. As an Associate Director, her team has responsibility for several aspects of TDSB's Multi-Year Strategic Action Plans focused on ending various forms of streaming by improving early literacy and improving access to academic pathways, in addition to responsibilities for professional learning in Equity, Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression. Recently, Russell-Rawlins developed a proposal to establish The Centre of Excellence for Black Student Achievement in TDSB, the first of its kind in Canada. She values the collaboration of working with staff, 12 Superintendents and an Executive Superintendent who are responsible for half of the schools in TDSB. Russell-Rawlins has established respectful and trusting relationships with the Parent Involvement Committee and the Black Student Achievement Community Advisory Committee where she serves as the Staff Lead. In 2018, she served as the President of the Ontario Supervisory Officers' Association and most recently was recognized as one of the 100 Accomplished Black Women in Canada in 2020.
The Peel board serves 155,000 students in kindergarten to the end of secondary school, as well as adult learners. Operating 257 schools in the municipalities of Brampton, Caledon and Mississauga with an annual budget just over $1.9 billion, the Peel board is the largest employer in Peel.
Carla Pereira, Director of Communications and Community Relations, [email protected]