Cathy Abraham remains President of OPSBA


OPSBA President Cathy Abraham in a purple blazer

Toronto, June 14, 2021 – The Ontario Public School Boards’ Association (OPSBA) is pleased to announce that Cathy Abraham will be serving as President for the 2021-22 school year following the Association’s 2021 Annual General Meeting on Saturday. President Abraham was elected to a two-year term in September 2020 for the 2020-21 and 2021-22 school years.

A four-term Trustee and three-time Chair of the Kawartha Pine Ridge District School Board (KPRDSB), President Abraham’s experience and knowledge will be invaluable to OPSBA throughout the next year as school boards continue to grapple with the effects of COVID-19 on the public education system.

“Ontario children are preparing to return to their public schools this fall after the biggest disruption in a lifetime and we will be there to support them academically, socially, and emotionally throughout the coming year,” said President Abraham. “We must never forget that we are, and will always remain, the champions of public education in Ontario. We are advocates for each and every student who enters our schools.”

In addition to her work with the KPRDSB, President Abraham has served OPSBA and the wider community in the following roles:

  • Two previous terms as OPSBA President (2019 and 2020)
  • Two terms as OPSBA Second Vice-President (2016-2018)
  • OPSBA Education Program Work Team Chair
  • OPSBA Policy Development Work Team Member
  • OPSBA Central East Region Vice-President (2007-2010)
  • OPSBA Trustee Labour Negotiation Representative
  • Variety of other leadership opportunities including with Rotary, Newcastle Community Hall, and as a founder of the Newcastle Family Connection resource centre

Serving alongside President Abraham, and also elected for two-year terms in September 2020, are First Vice-President Michael Barrett of the Durham District School Board and Second Vice-President Kathleen Woodcock of the Waterloo Region District School Board.

OPSBA’s Executive Council/leadership team for the 2021-22 school year will also include: Donna Edwards, Regional Chair, Central East Region (Durham District School Board); Arlene Morell, Regional Chair, Western Region (Thames Valley District School Board); Sheryl Evans, Regional Chair, Northern Region (Algoma District School Board); Donna Danielli, Regional Chair, Central West Region (Halton District School Board); David Shields, Regional Chair, Eastern Region (Renfrew County District School Board); Stephanie Donaldson, Vice-President, Enrolment (Toronto District School Board); and David Green, Vice-President, Enrolment (Peel District School Board).

Elaine Johnston, Indigenous Trustee with the Algoma District School Board, was selected by the Indigenous Trustees’ Council as OPSBA’s First Nations Director in May for the 2021-22 school year. Trustee Johnston’s dedication and commitment to the role will continue to strengthen public education for Indigenous students and foster broader perspectives for all students.

In addition, OPSBA member boards carried four new Policy Resolutions from Member Boards:

  1. From the Ottawa-Carleton DSB: That OPSBA recommend the Ministry of Education with the Education Equity Secretariat, as a priority, undertake a commitment to all members boards to: A) fund, in addition to the 2021/22 GSNs, an additional Grant, in the amount of no less than two full-time equivalent Research Officers, for school boards to use in their data collection and analysis, as local needs dictate, such as hiring staff, funding third party expertise, funding systems/infrastructure, covering costs associated with community/stakeholder engagement. B) Starting with the 2022/23 GSNs, newly and permanently fund as outlined in Part A.
  2. From the Waterloo Region DSB: That OPSBA advocate to the Ministry of Education to mandate learning expectations that focus on the over-400-year Black presence in Canada within the Ontario Social Studies and History curriculum; that the new learning expectations be created with Black experts, educators and those with lived experiences; and that during this time this curriculum is being updated, the Ministry of Education promote and make available to all Boards the Black History courses and resources created and currently being used by teachers in individual boards across the province.
  3. From the Limestone DSB: That OPSBA lobby the Ministry of Education to revise Regulation 462/97, or provide an alternative mechanism, in order for boards to have a process to add an additional, funded designated Indigenous Trustee.
  4. From the Near North DSB: That OPSBA will endeavor to promote practices and procedures towards reducing its environmental impact(s) for our students’ future and include “environmental” (or words appropriate through discussion) and amend its vision statement and update its Exemplary Practices on the OPSBA website.

The Ontario Public School Boards’ Association represents English public district school boards and public school authorities across Ontario, which together serve more than 1.3 million public elementary and secondary students. The Association advocates on behalf of the best interests and needs of the public school system in Ontario. OPSBA is seen as the credible voice of public education in Ontario and is routinely called on by the provincial government for input and advice on legislation and the impact of government policy directions.

For more information, please contact:

Shane Gonsalves
Managing Director, Government and Public Affairs

T.J. Goertz
Senior Communications and Policy Officer