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John Malloy to take helm at troubled TDSB

He left the top job at the Hamilton board for a plum post with Ministry of Education — and now he’s heading to the troubled Toronto District School Board.

John Malloy was approved as the new interim director of education for Canada’s largest board after a late-night vote on Wednesday by trustees, and will start the job Jan. 4. He will be paid $ 272,000 — the same as outgoing director Donna Quan, who was publicly forced to trim her salary back after it was found to violate the provincial pay freeze.

Malloy’s appointment comes on the heels of the release of a report by former Toronto mayor Barbara Hall, and may give the province a reason not to send in a supervisor — even though that was Hall’s first of 20 recommendations.

After leaving the Hamilton board, Malloy was named assistant deputy minister of education as well as the chief student achievement officer. He earned his teaching degree in Ohio, also has a master’s and doctorate, the latter from the University of Toronto. He has worked for the Toronto, Durham and York boards.

Quan, who officially leaves Friday, will be replaced by associate directors through the holidays.

“John is a highly respected educator who believes that student achievement can improve through access to equitable opportunities,” said board Chair Robin Pilkey. “He will play a key role in moving the TDSB forward for the betterment of our students, parents and all employees and in continuing to build on our successes to date.”

“We are all excited to welcome John to the TDSB,” added Trustee Parthi Kandavel. “The wealth of his experience reassures us his presence will help propel the winds of change and his depth of knowledge will certainly prove valuable for our board to continue leadership in education.”

Quan begins her new job on Monday, to work on a ministry research project with York University.

Malloy is the sixth director for the board since it was created in 1998.

While seen as a divisive leader, Quan’s reassignment came as a surprise to the board and trustees. Sources told the Star the shakeup was necessary for the board to move forward after a string of controversies.

Malloy’s contract is for 18 months, giving the board a lot of lead time to find a permanent director.

Malloy will have to deal with the province’s expectations on Hall’s 20 recommendations. Her report detailed the ongoing and long-standing “culture of fear” at the board, and said the roles of trustees must be clearly stated so they don’t overstep their boundaries. She also urged the board to set up three “education centres” to help make the board be more accessible to parents and put superintendents in the communities they serve.