General News

Peel District School Board appoints new director of education

July 23, 2020   ·   0 Comments


Peel District School Board (PDSB) has appointed two new senior administrators to help alleviate issues of systemic racism that has plagued the organization in recent years. 

Bruce Rodrigues was installed as new PDSB supervisor last month, while Colleen Russell-Rawlins has been named the new interim director of education. She will begin her new role on August 5. 

Former Director of Education, Peter Joshua, was removed from the position on June 23, where a statement read, “effective immediately, Director of Education Peter Joshua is no longer with the Peel District School Board. An interim Director of Education will be named by Ministry Supervisor Bruce Rodrigues in the days ahead.” 

Mr. Rodrigues made the decision only one day after filling the role as Supervisor to assist and provide action in regard to the numerous claims of anti-Black racism that has swarmed the school board over the past two years. 

In her new position, Russell-Rawlins is excited to be a part of the Peel District School Board and has already made plans to implement what she described as “necessary improvements” for the future.

“I am honoured to serve as the Interim Director of the Peel board at this pivotal point in its efforts to achieve racial equity and dismantle anti-Black racism. I look forward to learning from and with the Peel community in pursuit of these goals and improving all other aspects of education,” she said. 

Mrs. Russell-Rawlins is taking over for the temporary interim director of education, Jaspal Gill, who was given the position shortly after Peter Joshua was removed. 

For the past 29 years, Russell-Rawlins has worked in a variety of educational roles, including teacher, principal, consultant and superintendent. She will be transferring over from the Toronto District School Board, where she last worked in the role of Associate Director. 

In her career at TDSB, Russell-Rawlins has made several accomplishments that better the community of students, staff and parents. She recently oversaw the proposal and development of The Centre of Excellence for Black Student Achievement in the Toronto District School Board, which would be the first in the country. She has also played a pivotal role in establishing TSDB’s Multi-Year Strategic Action Plans to improve education in early literacy, while also putting a focus on professional learning in Equity, Anti-Racism and Anti-Oppression. 

“I really look forward to speaking with students, families and staff to learn more about things that are going really well in local communities, and the areas they want to focus on,” she said. “I know that Peel has had many successes and that there are areas that need to be focused on in order to move forward so that all students can experience success.”

Russell-Rawlins has had success in creating “respectful relationships” with her students, staff and parents by being the Staff Lead for the Parent Involvement Committee and the Black Student Achievement Community Advisory Committee.

“I am new and learning about what the successes have been because we want to ensure we build on the successes. As you know, this year there have been two reports outlining some directions that are important for the Peel community to undertake,” she explained. “I intend to listen deeply to everyone and especially the young people in our school.”

She added, “The future is theirs, and I believe that they’re really smart and bold and their ideas I think really holds tremendous potential for charting the path forward for Peel.”

PDSB Supervisor Bruce Rodrigues stated in a Peel news release his confidence in Mrs. Russell-Rawlins, explaining why she poses as an exceptional educator to fill the role as interim director of education.

“We are confident that Ms. Russell-Rawlins possesses all the necessary attributes to move the Peel board forward,” said Rodrigues. “She brings with her a strong commitment to student learning and success, an exceptional background in addressing issues of anti-Black, African and Caribbean racism, anti-oppression and equity. We are delighted to have her and look forward to working with her.”

Russell-Rawlins is excited to begin her new position in August, and is most looking forward to meet all the new students. 

“I’m always excited to meet new young people,” she said. “Having had a career in education, they’re my motivation, they’re where I get my energy, and I know that there are many committed and dedicated educators and community members in Peel who are excited charting a positive future.”

For more information, please visit 



Readers Comments (0)

You must be logged in to post a comment.