Turco announces retirement as ADSB Director of EducationTuesday, March 27, 2012 by: Brad Coccimiglio
Effective July 21, Mario Turco will no longer be director of education with the Algoma District School Board.
With some family in attendance, Turco announced his retirement from the board at Tuesday night’s monthly board meeting.
“(Retiring) is always emotional,” Turco told the board. “It’s like leaving you’re leaving a family and setting out in a new direction. I’m leaving this family, after 42 years, and I have been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with students, peers, trustees, colleagues, parents and community partners. As a result, I leave with wonderful and permanent memories that I will cherish.”
Many trustees expressed their thanks for the work Turco has put in during his 42 years with the ADSB.
“I feel that it has been a real privelage to work with (Turco),” Trustee Graham Lidstone said during the meeting. “I wrote down a few words that characterize you and they were honesty, openness, dedication and respectful. As a trustee, you were all those things with me and all of those with other people as well.”
In a statement, ADSB Chair Jennifer Sarlo said: “Mario’s impact as a leader and Director of the Algoma District School Board will be felt long after he retires. His desire to improve student learning and raise the bar for every child was the focus of every matter brought to the Board. His personal experience as a young immigrant boy educated in Sault Ste. Marie fostered his conviction that a strong, educational system is the key to a successful future for all students. We believe Mario’s vision, relational style, and strong advocacy for students led to the construction of three new schools within our board over the last few years. We will miss his untiring work ethic and sense of humour. We know his infectious passion for our board and its students will endure after his retirement, as it has become our very culture. It has been my pleasure to work with him over the last five years.”
Turco has served 13 years as a Superintendent and has also held numerous other positions within the board, including as a principal and vice-principal at the secondary school level.
Turco has also been a department head and was a mathematics teacher at the secondary level.
“I appreciate the opportunities that this board has given me. It has taken a young, Italian boy who couldn’t speak English, educated him to the best of their abilities and gave him every opportunity possible,” Turco added. “Who would have thought that could happen?”
The search for a new director is expected to begin sometime in the next two weeks. The board will hire a recruitment firm to help with the search which is expected to be province-wide. The board expects to name a replacement for Turco in mid-June.
The full text of a release on this issue from the board follows.
- A multi-year Strategic Plan with an Annual Board Improvement Plan
- A focus on improving student learning resulting in 16% improvement, on average, in literacy and numeracy as well as an increase of 14%, on average, in academic achievement for students accessing special education programs
- Full Day Junior and Senior Kindergarten in all schools and the introduction of Parenting and Family Literacy Centres at four sites in Sault Ste. Marie
- Enhanced Learning Programs such as the International Baccalaureate Program, Advanced Placement Program, Arts and Culture Program and Specialist High Skills Major Programs
- A Board-wide focus on safe and caring schools through the implementation of Character Education, Equity/Diversity/Inclusivity, a review of Board and School Codes of Conduct as per the Safe Schools Policy and the introduction of Project ABCD (Action for Building a Community that is Drug-Free) which utilizes a community-based and youth engagement approach
- A Mental Health strategy implemented as one of fifteen Boards selected by the Ministry of Education to improve supports for students
- Co-ordinated Community Partnerships including the Algoma Model to support community services for students, and the CEO Planning Table of Community Agencies and Organizations working with children and youth in Algoma
- A voluntary Aboriginal Self-Identification Program that has led to the introduction of and enhancement of Aboriginal Programs, cultural rooms throughout the Board, and an Urban Aboriginal High School developed in partnership with the Sault Ste. Marie Indian Friendship Centre
- Alternative Programs to meet the various needs of students which include the COOP School, the Late School, Field Schools, High School/College Dual Credits, Outdoor Education Programs, School/College/Work Initiative, E-Learning, Distance Learning and Credit Recovery Programs
- A strategic technology plan allowing for a favourable computer-student ratio and the provision of laptops and projectors in classrooms as well as other technologies, including assistive technology, that will support teaching and learning in the future
- A Leadership Succession and Mentoring Program
- Professional Learning Communities for staff
- Continued involvement of School Councils, Board-Level Parent Involvement Committee, and Student Senate resulting in an 87.2% satisfaction rate from students, and 89.3% satisfaction rate from parents with ADSB schools
- A Capital Plan that has led to the closure, consolidation, demolition and renovation of existing facilities culminating with, for the first time in forty years, the construction of 3 new, state-of-the-art and environmentally-friendly schools, including geothermal energy/technology at the new Hornepayne school, for our communities
- Various school organizations ranging from the traditional JK-8 and 9-12 schools to JK-3, JK-6, Grades 4-6, JK-3/7-8, 7-12 and JK -12 models
- A fiscally responsible organization and budget to ensure that the priorities of the Board are met and that the needs of all students are met.
Earlier SooToday.com coverage of this story