Community / Press Release

Russell Copeman on Loan to EMSB as Interim Director General

Montreal - Friday, November 27, 2020

Russell CopemanThe Council of Commissioners of the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) announced today the appointment of Russell Copeman as its Interim Director General, effective immediately.

“The current Council of Commissioners has been in office for less than a month, and we have a full plate of issues to address,” explains EMSB Chairman Joe Ortona . “These include first and foremost ensuring we continue to meet the needs of our students and their families, particularly during the ongoing pandemic. At the same time, our role is to set the strategic plan for the EMSB while hiring a permanent Director General – the one person who reports directly to the Council of Commissioners.

“Russell has the leadership skills and understanding of our education system to guide the EMSB and advise the Council of Commissioners over the next few months. We are fortunate to have a public servant of his calibre on our team.”

For the past two years Mr. Copeman has served as Executive Director of the Quebec English School Boards Association (QESBA) where he has provided dynamic and effective leadership on a wide range of issues ranging from opposition to Bill 40, the holding of commissioner elections in the middle of a pandemic and the school system’s response to COVID-19.

“I am excited about joining the school board with one of the highest student success rates in the province and on par with the private sector,” noted Mr. Copeman. “My goal is to work with my colleagues to build on this foundation. At the same time, I think I can be helpful as the EMSB continues to lead the opposition to legislation prohibiting the wearing of religious symbols by our teachers and defends the Quebec’s English community’s right to manage and control our school system.”

Prior to joining QESBA, Mr Copeman was Mayor of Cote-de-Neiges Notre-Dame-de-Grace and a member of the City of Montreal Executive Committee. He was Associate Vice-President, External Affairs for Concordia University and served as the Member of the National Assembly for Notre-Dame-de- Grace for fourteen years.

“I also wish to thank Pelagia Nickoletopoulos for her support and her commitment to doing what is best for the EMSB,” added Mr. Ortona. “She agreed to serve as Interim Director General on a temporary basis while we looked for someone to take on the assignment for a transition period. She is a principled and talented leader who will provide Russell with valuable advice and counsel.”

Mr. Copeman is on loan to the EMSB by the QESBA while the Council of Commissioners proceeds with its search for a permanent Director General, which is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2021.

About the English Montreal School Board

With a youth and adult sector population of more than 37,000 students, the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) is the largest English public school board in Quebec. Established on July 1, 1998, when the province created new boards along linguistic lines, our network consists of 77 schools and centres. For more details, visit the EMSB website at www.emsb.qc.ca.

For more information, please contact:
Jonathan Goldbloom
Avenue Strategic Communications
Tel. 514 923-7779
Jonathan.Goldbloom@communicationsavenue.com

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