EMSB staff shuffles continue as interim director general steps down, returns to previous job

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This year has seen a series of high-profile resignations and other shakeups at the English Montreal School Board, in the wake of the province's damning report on the board last year, and it seems they're not over.

The board's interim director general, Evelyne Alfonsi, announced Tuesday that she's stepping down from the position and will return to her duties as assistant director general of education.

“Due to reasons of a professional nature, I believe I am no longer the ideal person to continue in the role of Interim Director General,” Alfonsi said, according to a news release from the EMSB.

She said that “in these unprecedented times," she's "extremely proud" of the work the board's done in the last three months, and that her move is in the best interests of the board.

Of course, this year hasn't only seen major internal problems at the EMSB, but also the pandemic.

Alfonsi took over as interim director in mid-August after former director Ann Marie Matheson suddenly resigned.

That put her in place to oversee the hugely controversial, high-pressure back-to-school season during the pandemic, as the board tried to contend with provincial rules, parental anger, and then a wave of school COVID-19 outbreaks.

The EMSB has had most of its top leadership shuffled or replaced about a year after it placed under trusteeship by the province last November.

The appointed trustee, Marlene Jennings, ended her term earlier this month.

At the same time, the EMSB, along with other English school boards in Quebec, is in the midst of a legal battle over whether school boards will be forced to change over to the "service centre" model that the province has introduced with Bill 40.

The EMSB chair is Joe Ortona -- he was acclaimed to the position in September -- and he said in a statement that he looks forward to continuing to work with Alfonsi in her previous position.

“On behalf of the Council of Commissioners, I wish to sincerely thank Evelyne for her work of the last three months," he said.

The Council of Commissioners is slated to announce the nomination of a new interim director general "very shortly," the board said.

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