Renfrew County Catholic District School Board Trustee Judy Ellis will retire on December 31, 2020, after more than two decades of serving our Catholic school community.
Ellis first served on the Board from February-April 1997, and again from October 4, 1999 to December 31, 2020.
She was appointed to the Board by the Chief and Council of Pikwakanagan to represent the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation and says she had a wonderful mentor many years ago—her father, Andrew Lavalley.
“He was a Trustee on the Board and spent many nights away from us at meetings. He passed away in 1990. My goal was to be a role model for my community and to help children. My Dad did and I wanted to do the same,” shares Ellis.
In 2003, Ellis was appointed to serve on the Minister’s Advisory Council for Special Education as a representative of the Native communities. In her capacity as a member of the Advisory Council, she helped identify concerns in the delivery of special education programs and services for exceptional pupils, and was able to provide information, advice and recommendations for Ministry consideration.
She served as the Board Vice-Chair from December 1, 2009 to November 30, 2010, many years on the Board’s Audit Committee, and chaired the Board’s Educational Services Committee and Special Education Advisory Committee.
“There were many interesting facets to this role. All the decisions you make are made to the best of your ability,” states Ellis. “We act in the best interests of the students. Our actions determine outcomes—hopefully positive ones.”
RCCDSB Chair David Howard has been on the Board with Ellis for all of her 20-plus years. “Judy is a dedicated and loyal supporter of Catholic education. She brought a very important perspective to the Board table and was a steadfast advocate for equity and inclusion. Her contributions will be dearly missed. On behalf of the Board, I thank Judy for her years of commitment, dedication and work on behalf of all the students in our system and I wish her all the best.”
Ellis says she has enjoyed the people she met, the provincial committees she was part of, being on The Ministers Advisory Council for Special Education, Curriculum Review of Indigenous Studies, Ontario Catholic Schools Trustee Association Indigenous Advisory Committee and, most recently, the Ministers Review Committee for the Indigenous Education Advisory Committees of Boards.
She notes that the Board has members who have contributed many years and have various knowledge and experiences that they bring to the table. “The years of having their own jobs, and each one different, contributed to the overall achievements of the Board.”
Over the years, a lot of things changed, notes Ellis.
“I take pride in the adaptive ways of our administrators and our staff. These people give 110% to their job. The staff are awesome across the County! What I will miss is the people and the relationships I built over the years, the wonderful presentations that are brought to the table by staff and students. I will miss hearing students’ stories, their laughter and experiences from competing in science fairs, and building schools in the Dominican Republic to teaching me about Math and all the ways to learn about coding!”
Ellis says she would recommend to anyone who wants to be a Trustee to research what the role is; be committed to making a difference and supporting the people who have educated themselves to be role models for our children—these are the people who, along with parents, are the guardians of the future.
“Given the last word, I would have to say thank you to the staff and students and parents of the Renfrew County Catholic District School Board for teaching me to be a better person and for making “Schools to Believe In” truly inspiring places to grow and learn.”
For further information, please contact:
Jaimie Perry, Director of Education
Renfrew County Catholic District School Board
499 Pembroke Street West
Pembroke, ON K8A 5P1
Phone: 613-735-1031 or 1-800-267-0191