Colleen Russell-Rawlins has been appointed Director of Education for the Toronto District School Board (TDSB). Trustees voted on the appointment during a Special Meeting today. The appointment will take effect August 5, 2021.
Ms. Russell-Rawlins is currently Permanent Interim Director of Education for the Peel District School Board. Over her 29-year career with the TDSB, Russell-Rawlins has held a variety of roles in education, including teacher, principal, superintendent, and Associate Director of Education.
While at the TDSB she had a leading role in delivering several aspects of the Board’s Multi-Year Strategic Plan with a focus on equity, anti-racism and anti-oppression. Her many accomplishments at the TDSB include ending various forms of streaming by improving early literacy and improving access to academic pathways and creating the Centre of Excellence for Black Student Achievement.
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 appointment of Ms. Russell-Rawlins brings to close an extensive, yearlong recruitment process that included stakeholder consultation on Director of Education job criteria, and desired experience and background that helped inform the candidate profile. Stakeholder involvement in creating the candidate profile include staff, trustees, union and federation leaders, as well as Chairs of Community Advisory Committees, Chairs of the Special Education Advisory Committee and Chairs of the Parent Involvement Advisory Committee.
- Interim Director of Education Karen Falconer will remain Director of Education until Ms. Russell-Rawlins’ appointment takes effect.
“We are excited that Colleen will return to her roots at the TDSB and begin the enormous task of leading Canada’s largest school system out of the pandemic with renewed optimism. Colleen brings with her a strong commitment to student learning, achievement and success and exceptional background in addressing anti-Black, racism, oppression, and equity.”
- Alexander Brown, Chair, TDSB
“I am honoured to be appointed by the Board of Trustees to serve as the Director of Education at the Toronto District School Board (TDSB). In my role at the Peel District School Board, I have been focused on eradicating systemic racism and oppression, and I will continue to do so at the TDSB. Throughout my career, equity was my foundation for improving student engagement, well-being, and achievement. I welcome the opportunity to continue to work with trustees, students, families, and dedicated staff to ignite learning and innovation and focus on the success of students who are currently underserved. On a personal note, it’s a unique and a humbling experience to return as Director of Education for the schools where I was once a student. I look forward to the privilege of leading an education system where students' identities are respected, their potential is promoted, and they learn to thrive in an increasingly complex world.”
- Colleen Russell-Rawlins, Incoming Director of Education, TDSB