Challenging year ahead for new director of education

By Jenn Watt

Published by June 30 2020

As of Aug. 1 Trillium Lakelands District School Board will have a change in leadership with Wesley Hahn taking over as director of education from Larry Hope who is retiring.
The school board’s trustees voted unanimously to appoint Hahn to the position during a special meeting on June 25.
Bruce Reain chair of the board of trustees said they were delighted to have Hahn join the team “and we know he is going to be a good fit for our TLDSB family.”
Hahn was most recently a superintendent at the District School Board of Niagara a position that followed a career in education including time at the Toronto District School Board and Hamilton Wentworth District School Board.

Hahn said he was excited to be joining TLDSB saying it has “an excellent reputation in the province.”
In a press release issued on the day of Hahn’s appointment the new director of education is quoted as saying people come first.
“Engaging others through respectful dialogue and active listening builds positive relationships and trust” he said. “I am looking forward to engaging with all TLDSB stakeholders.”
Hahn has a challenging first year ahead of him; it is still not known what school will look like in the fall. Minister of Education Stephen Lecce issued a letter to parents last week outlining three potential scenarios: a return to the status quo; continuation of the current distance/online learning; or a blended system.

Lecce’s letter said that all of Ontario’s school boards have been asked to plan for each possible outcome which will depend on where the province is at with the pandemic in two months’ time.
“We hope that the public health situation will continue to improve and allow school boards to enter a conventional classroom experience once it is safe to do so” the letter states. “Local and regional health authorities – in conjunction with a Ministry of Education established table of medical experts – will help shape the way forward to ensure the realities on the ground within your communities are best reflected.”
Funding for mental health supports additional custodial staff and new technology for school boards was outlined in the letter.