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Shields steps down as school board chair

By Stephen Uhler, The Daily Observer

Dave Shields will no longer be the chairman of the Renfrew County District School Board. He announced he wouldn't be running for another term at Tuesday's board meeting.

Dave Shields will no longer be the chairman of the Renfrew County District School Board. He announced he wouldn't be running for another term at Tuesday's board meeting.

Dave Shields is stepping down.

The chairman of the Renfrew County District School Board made the announcement at Tuesday’s meeting that he won’t be seeking another term at the helm when the board holds elections for the post Dec. 6. He will remain on the board as trustee for Whitewater Region and Admaston/Bromley.

“As I prepare to take my leave, I am filled with mixed emotions,” Shields said. “While I am not going far, about 10 feet in either direction, I am nonetheless sad that I won’t have the privilege of representing the board as your chair when visiting schools, meeting staff and representing our board at the provincial level.”

He said his long history with the board has provided him with the perspective to see the differences between a good board and a great board, and he can honestly say this group epitomizes that ideal.

“In just two short years, I’ve seen the commitment and focus that each of you have for student achievement and well being,” Shields said. “I am comforted to know that whomever the director is come the New Year, this group of trustees are prepared and ready for the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead.”

(Roger Clarke, the current education director, is retiring by the end of the year.)

The outgoing chairman said he is extremely proud of the level of involvement the board has at the provincial level. He said four trustees have been in leadership roles within the Ontario Public School Board Association (OPSBA) over the past two years: past board chairman David Kaiser and Trustee Susan Humphries selected as OPSBA directors; Trustee Marjorie Adam was elected as a member of the OPSBA Education Program Work Team, and himself as Eastern Regional Vice-President.

Shields said this is also the first time the board had two student trustees in place – one incoming, one outgoing with overlapping terms - and he stressed Nic Edge and Connor Webster, have together established themselves as an invaluable voice for the entire student body.

He said he believes the board’s combination of good strategic planning and solid knowledge of the ever evolving provincial education system serves their students well.

“There are many examples of our board seizing opportunities to bring innovative programs that benefit our students,” Shields said, and demonstrates how this small rural board leads the province.

“Our Specialist High Skills Majors program is a prime example,” he said. “These programs have evolved into 39 SHSM programs running, representing 14 sectors. There are currently 877 students enrolled – 434 Grade 11s and 443 Grade 12s. This is a huge accomplishment for a board of our size.”

Shields said over the past two years he has enjoyed working with vice-chairwoman Wendy Hewitt, who has embraced her leadership role with dedication and enthusiasm, and the staff, which for him it has been an honour and privilege to work with them.

“From the director and senior team to all levels within the Renfrew County District School Board, I am proud of the culture of innovation, cooperation and dedication that serves all of our students so well,” he said. “Thank you all for making my years as chair rewarding and fulfilling.”

The board will be holding a special year-end meeting Dec. 6, when they will elect their new chairman and vice-chairman.

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