Retiring Catholic school board director reflects on three decades in education

Terry Lyons, 57, is stepping down as director of education for the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board later this year.

Board will conduct search for Terry Lyons's successor

Terry Lyons, director of education for the WECDSB, is retiring in July.

Terry Lyons, head of the English Catholic school board in Windsor-Essex, says he gets asked how he sleeps at night.

He says he was able to get a good night's sleep because he always tried to make decisions based on the best interest of students, families and the community.

"I've had the pleasure to serve in education for over three decades and the people that I've met and the people that I've worked with, I'm very confident in what is behind us in terms of leadership moving forward," he told CBC Radio's Windsor Morning on Thursday.

Lyons, 57, is stepping down as director of education for the Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board, effective July 31. He has served in the role since 2017.

The director of education for the Catholic school board in Windsor-Essex has decided to step down after more than 3 decades in education. Peter Duck speaks with Terry Lyons about his decision, and the state of education. 9:06

His retirement was announced at a recent meeting of the school board's trustees. The board said it will launch a search for a successor.

Lyons reflected on his 32-year career in education, saying he grew up an "inner city kid" who struggled but was inspired by the role models he encountered at school.

"I always wanted to give back and do what they did for me — they changed my life," he said.

Students return to classroom

Lyons said he is retiring largely for non-COVID-19-related reasons but acknowledged it has been a challenging year.

And, nearly a year into the pandemic, the challenge isn't going away yet.

On Wednesday, three days after students returned to the classroom for the first time in 2021, a class was dismissed at St. John the Baptist Catholic Elementary School in Belle River after a COVID-19 case was reported.

Lyons said schools are just a microcosm of broader society, and the continued presence of COVID-19 in the school system is a reflection of cases in the community.

He's hoping the return to in-class learning goes "a little better" this time around, expressing confidence in the work of staff and health officials.

He declined to say whether he thought March Break should be cancelled this year in order to keep COVID-19 cases down, saying that it's up to the province to decide.


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