P.E.I. names new school director

The P.E.I. government has appointed Dale Sabean to the Public Schools Branch board of directors.

Dale Sabean replaces Pat Mella, who resigned in April

Dale Sabean's appointment became effective May 15. (Government of P.E.I.)

The P.E.I. government has appointed Dale Sabean to the Public Schools Branch board of directors.

Sabean was superintendent of the former Western School Board from 2005-11, before the two English language boards were merged.

His appointment became effective May 15.

"I believe I can make a positive contribution to our schools, our staff, and, most importantly, our students across P.E.I.." said Sabean in a news release.

Sabean replaces Pat Mella, who resigned in April.

Mella resigned after an extensive review of schools on the Island by the Public Schools Branch recommended the closure of two. That recommendation was overruled by the province.

Sabean only person approached

P.E.I's education minister Doug Currie says after Mella's resignation, he heard Sabean was interested, and offered him the 3-year director's position. 

Currie says he didn't consider anyone else. 

"Under the Education Act, as the Minister, I have the ability to appoint.  And that's the process," said Currie. "I think Dale is exactly what the Public School Branch needs in respect to providing stability and experience."

Currie says with the school review process now out of the way, Sabean and the board's two other directors - Harvey MacEwen and Deputy Education Minister Susan Willis - will  "provide oversight" to the Public Schools Branch on how to best implement the recommendations in the school review. 

"The shift now will be to....initiatives and investments in school support teams, obviously the redefining of under-capacity and under-utilised schools," said Currie. 

For Sabean's part, he says he supported the move by the province to go against the board's recommendations, and to keep schools open. 

"I guess what pleases me in retrospect, is the fact that not only have they made the decision to not close schools, but they've turned around and they've added significant resources to staff to fund those schools from tip to tip," said Sabean. 

'Nobody had the chance to apply' says opposition critic 

The PC's education critic Steven Myers questions just what role the three-person appointed board will play now. 

"I don't think they have a role.  Their role is to do what Wade MacLauchlan tells them to do," said Myers. "That's what a hand picked board does.  When the Premier hand picks the board, that's what their job is, to do his bidding."

Myers says Sabean's appointment by Currie speaks to the problem with an appointed board of directors. 

"Nobody had the chance to apply.  Nobody had the chance to tell Doug Currie they wanted the job," he said.  "Open it up to an election, let people put their names forward.  Let them bring voters out to vote for them, and let Islanders decide who they want."

The education minister defended the appointed board Thursday, again pointing to low voter turnout at past school board elections. 

Sabean says the board of directors will hold its next public meeting June 20 at Birchwood Intermediate School. 


  • This story originally stated that Pat Mella resigned in May. In fact, she resigned in April. It also said the Public Schools Branch had recommended the closure of three schools. It actually recommended two.
    Jun 08, 2017 11:40 AM AT