Laura Elliott, TVDSB director of education, to retire in 2019

A new year, a new director of education for the Thames Valley District School Board (TVDSB.)

That’s after board officials announced Thursday that Laura Elliott, the board’s director of education and secretary of the board since September 2013, had announced her plans to retire in August following nearly 40 years in public education, 12 of which have been at the TVDSB.

While the decision was not easy, the time was right, both professionally and personally, Elliott said.

“I think it’s just a great opportunity, not only for me… but it’s also an opportunity for Thames Valley,” she told 980 CFPL Thursday. “There’s a brand new board coming in place, and I think it’s just time for someone else to take Thames Valley to a different place — or a new place!”

Elliott said there were several factors for why she announced her retirement on Thursday. For one, her husband, Leo Plue, is set to retire on Friday from his role as executive director at the Abilities Centre in Whitby, Ont.

In addition, Elliott says her contract stipulates giving eight months notice to the Board of Trustees.

“It was a matter of ‘do I do it just before Christmas, in the holidays, or just after?’ I thought this was probably the best time so they can get things organized in the early new year.”

Elliott, who is also the sister of Christine Elliott, the province’s minister of health, came to the TVDSB from the Durham District School Board, and in addition to teaching, has previously held roles at the Ministry of Education, Ontario College of Teachers, and the Department of National Defence.

Asked what she would remember most about her time at TVDSB, Elliott replied it would be her colleagues.

“I rate them at the very highest in the province,” she said. “An outstanding teaching population, and wonderful support staff as well. I’ve also been very privileged to work with very supporting boards of trustees over my time in senior administration.”

“We’ve worked very hard within our organization over the last number of years to instil a culture of learning and innovation, which permeates throughout the organization. I hope that will continue.”

Upon retiring, Elliott and her husband plan to, among other things, travel and golf.

“It’s been a wonderful career, and I wouldn’t do anything any differently.”

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