With a focus on moving forward, the newly appointed chair of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) vowed to work hard at restoring public confidence in a system left shaken after her predecessor’s resignation as a result of a plagiarism incident.
Flanked by TDSB staff, a poised Donna Quan spoke to reporters about the importance of focusing on students’ education and working as a team to ensure the best possible learning environment is achieved.
“We will reach out to partners and parents to ensure the TDSB remains one of the finest education systems in the world,” Quan said Friday, Jan. 18 at TDSB headquarters on Yonge Street, north of Sheppard Avenue.
Quan, who has more than 30 years of education experience, was chosen as interim director Wednesday, Jan. 16, following two lengthy trustee meetings.
Quan accepted the position after former TDSB director Chris Spence resigned Thursday, Jan. 10, after admitting to plagiarizing parts of an op-ed piece he wrote for a newspaper on Jan. 5.
Quan, who served as the board’s deputy director for the past two and a half years, began her education career in 1983 with teaching roles in a number of elementary schools, including French immersion.
The married mother of three daughters began her career with the TDSB in 1985, where she established one of the first non-profit school-based Early Years childcare centres at Faywood Arts-Based Curriculum School in North York.
Quan has held various positions within the board, including principal and families of schools superintendent.
Quan, who praised Spence for his “tremendous leadership” as director, acknowledged it had been a less than breezy week at the board.
“The past week has been stormy but the storm shall pass,” she said.
Chris Bolton, chair of the TDSB, said the focus is on getting things back to an even keel before selecting someone permanent to fill the post.
“We’re not even considering what the future looks like in that regard,” he said. “We have to ensure stability and leadership of the TDSB is firmly in place, then figure out what comes next.”
When asked if she’s hoping to continue her new job permanently, Quan said her immediate focus is on uniting her team and delivering the best possible education system to students.
Quan received her bachelors of education from the University of Toronto and her masters of education from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.