Calgary Board of Education announces new chief superintendent of schools

After months of searching, the Calgary Board of Education has announced its new chief superintendent of schools.

Christopher Usih, an associate director of education at the Toronto District School Board, holds a master of education degree from the University of Manitoba and additional qualifications in mathematics and computer science.

He has more than 28 years of experience as an educator, beginning his teaching career in an Indigenous community in northern Manitoba. But Usih has spent the majority of his career in diverse roles with the Toronto board, including teacher, principal and other executive positions.

“I am excited to join the Calgary Board of Education, which is known as a leader in kindergarten to Grade 12 education across Canada,” said Usih, who begins his new role Dec. 17.

“I am looking forward to building relationships with the board of trustees, staff, students, families and the Calgary community. I am committed to student and staff achievement, well-being and continuous improvement.”

CBE officials said Usih has a well-earned reputation for integrity, efficiency and is highly regarded for his commitment to equity, raising academic standards and addressing achievement and opportunity gaps.

During his time in Toronto, he led several initiatives including providing support for student transitions, implementing strategies to promote high school completion and developing partnerships to support students in a variety of post-secondary pathways.

“The board of trustees has chosen a proven educational leader who brings decades of experience with the Toronto District School Board, the largest school board in Canada,” said CBE chair Trina Hurdman. “We are confident in Mr. Usih’s ability to lead the Calgary Board of Education into the future.”

Outgoing chief superintendent David Stevenson served four decades with the CBE, topping out at a base salary of $295,000 at the end of his career and earning $400,000 in retirement benefits.

After critics raised questions about the high compensation paid to superintendents like Stevenson, Education Minister David Eggen placed a cap on superintendent salaries, ensuring Stevenson’s successor cannot earn more than $275,000.

CBE media relations said Thursday that Usih’s contract won’t be made public until he has officially started his employment in December, adding that the contract was negotiated within the new compensation framework for school superintendents released by Eggen earlier this year.

eferguson@postmedia.com

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