Lawrence Clifford, former superintendent of education with the Wellington Catholic District School Board, is the new director of education for the Waterloo Catholic board.
Clifford has 28 years of experience in the Catholic school system, working at first as a secondary-school classroom teacher, then spending eight years as a school administrator and nine as a supervisory officer with the Halton Catholic District School Board near Milton.According to Waterloo Catholic DSB chair Manuel Di Silva, Clifford has been busy with meetings but is not yet planning to make any drastic changes.
“He’s been meeting with a variety of people in the system and he will continue to as the year starts, but there isn’t anything that’s been highlighted as far as a dramatic change that he’s planning on,” said Di Silva this week.
Clifford explained that the most exciting part of his job so far has been meeting with various members and Catholic school principals to discuss their concerns.
“There is a number of changes the ministry (of education) is putting out and it’s causing some challenges for us here at the board, but the main vision we have for our students is to have them achieve academically at their highest ability in a safe environment that respects their differences. We want to enhance that as much as possible,” he said.
Married for 25 years to a Catholic school teacher, Clifford has three children and previous job responsibilities include international education, supervision of elementary and secondary schools special education and school safety. For the new director, working in Waterloo is a homecoming.
“I am a Waterloo boy to start with. I thought that my acquired experience and skill set could assist this board in further growth,” he said.
Clifford was chosen over a number of candidates after two rounds of interviews and a written assignment by board trustees. The hiring process involved a round of general interviews in which all applicants were asked a number of questions. Trustees then narrowed their search to two candidates; Clifford and another applicant who were asked to submit the written portion of the interview. The hiring process lasted just under five months and Clifford assumed his post on July 23.
Following the retirement of long-time director Roger Lawler in February 2011, the director’s duties were temporarily taken over by Rick Boisvert, who has now resumed his position as associate director of education.