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Equity as a Leadership Competency


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As public educators, our job is to create equitable learning environments where students get what they need to excel and thrive. We have done the research and the data tells us that there are serious challenges to how we have approached closing achievement and well-being gaps. At the Toronto District School Board we recognize that the work to achieve equity and close gaps requires us to approach Equity as a Leadership Competency as we are committed to doing better.

Now it’s time for us to act.

The TDSB Equity Leadership Competencies were created over the 2018/2019 school year. These competencies clearly explain the TDSB’s expectations from an equity perspective for everyone in a leadership role or anyone who aspires to be a leader in our organization.

“All leaders in our organization need to possess and demonstrate the skills to lead from an understanding of equity and anti-oppression in order to meet the diverse needs of our students, families and staff,” says Associate Director, Equity, Well-Being and School Improvement Colleen Russell-Rawlins.

What are equity leadership competencies?

Leadership competencies are skills and behaviours that create the conditions and environments that supports and contributes to superior performance of all. Equity leadership competencies ensure that leaders at the TDSB are able to articulate who their students are, who is over/underrepresented and figure out which voices are missing from conversations and make this visible in the work happening in the building.

The goal is to create environments where students, staff and families are included and have the tools necessary to be successful.

The TDSB Equity Leadership Competencies document was created as a complement to the Ontario Leadership Framework with a view to make equity leadership competencies clear. The Equity Leadership Competencies are built on seven core areas:

  • Setting Directions
  • Building Productive Relationships & Developing People
  • Improving the Instructional Program
  • Developing the Organization to Support Desired Practices
  • Security Accountability
  • Equity & Anti-Oppressive Leadership
  • Truth & Reconciliation

“This is not a static document,” says Jeewan Chanicka, Superintendent of Equity, Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression. “As we learn and grow, we expect this document to evolve to reflect that growth.”

Making equity a priority for all

These equity leadership competencies are a first in Canadian school boards and will ensure that equity, anti-oppression and anti-racism are not ignored or glossed over when hiring or promoting leaders, but that it is seen as a priority for all people.

“Many times people don’t know or realize the explicit skills they need to work on or develop to achieve equity for all students,” says jeewan. “Equity as a leadership competency is something we must consider in all areas of hiring and promotion. This document helps make it explicit.”

To learn more about equity as a leadership competency, please contact Colleen Russell-Rawlins or Jeewan Chanicka.



Our Mission
To enable all students to reach high levels of achievement and well-being
and to acquire the knowledge, skills
and values they need to become responsible, contributing members of
a democratic and sustainable society.
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