Changes at Western Quebec School Board – New Director General and new Principal for Pontiac High

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Terry Burns, Pontiac High School’s new principal.

Carl Hager

GATINEAU The Western Quebec School Board (WQSB) recently announced several changes within their administration, including the appointment of George Singfield, former secretary general, as director general following Mike Dubeau’s retirement; Pascal Proulx was appointed assistant director general, replacing Ruth Ahern.

Singfield has been a long-time educator within the WQSB. He began his career as a teacher at D’Arcy McGee High School in Hull before becoming principal of Onslow and Poltimore schools in 1998. In 2000, he became principal at D’Arcy McGee, and in 2002, principal of Symmes Junior High. The school gymnasium at Symmes-D’Arcy McGee was renamed in his honour.

Debra Stephens, principal of PHS for the last seven years, has taken on the role of director of Pontiac Continuing Education, a local adult education facility.  “When I help students in adult education, I’m helping not only them but their families and the whole community,” she said.

Stephens cited the graduation event of 2020 as one of her career highlights. To conform to COVID pandemic regulations, graduates were paraded through Shawville in individual trucks before gathering at the Recreation Centre where Stephens addressed them from a fire truck bucket raised high above the grounds.

 Terry Burns, former principal of Golden Valley High in Val D’Or, is replacing Stephens. Before becoming an educator, he was a businessman for 10 years and a pastor for 17. He brings international experience, having worked in Ukraine, India, and Georgia, among other places.

 Burns says coming to PHS is like coming home, as he originally hailed from Cobden, Ontario. “My goal is to encourage modern pedagogical approaches and listen to all stakeholders including teachers, students and parents,” he told the Journal.