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York grad takes over helm of school board

The York Region District School Board (YRDSB) has appointed one of its own graduates as its new director of education and he already has his first big assignment: a comprehensive strategic plan review.

“As a graduate of the YRDSB, I am proud to call York Region home,” says Bill Cober. He takes over the helm of the province’s third largest school board on August 1.

“I understand the uniqueness and diversity of York Region and that our schools are both a reflection of and the heartbeat within our communities. The Board has exemplary leadership at all levels of the organization and the opportunity to serve YRDSB students, staff and families as its next Director of Education is one that I will truly cherish.”

Cober has nearly 30 years of experience in public education in York Region under his belt. His resumé includes extensive educational leadership experience, as well as experience in municipal government. His strengths include relationship building, strategic decision making, and building equitable and inclusive organizations, the Board reports.

In his current role as superintendent of human resource services and chief negotiator with the YRDSB, Cober’s responsibilities include compensation, pension, benefits, retirements and leaves; recruitment, selection and retention; staff well-being, attendance and disability management; workplace health and safety; employee and labour relations; and bargaining. He previously served as a superintendent and was an elementary school principal for 11 years.

“His background includes rich and diverse educational, instructional, organizational, operational, governance and relational leadership skills and experiences,” says Board Chair Ron Lynn. Cober is also credited with having a “collaborative and strategic approach” to leadership and a “passionate belief” in the capacity and potential of all students, the Board adds.

Scott Yake

The YRDSB has more than 126,000 students in 180 elementary schools and 33 secondary schools. As it prepares to embark on a strategic plan review that will set the vision and direction for the years to come, it promises Cober will lead a “robust public engagement and consultation process.”

Scott Yake has served as Director of Education (Interim) since November 2022 and will remain in the role until July 31. “We are grateful for the dedicated and thoughtful leadership Scott has provided during this interim period,” Lynn says. “We have benefited from his expertise, commitment to relationship building and inclusivity and his focus on student achievement and well-being.”

Photo of incoming Director of Education Bill Cober courtesy of the York Region District School Board.

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