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York Catholic board hires veteran educator to top job, after previous director’s short stint
June 28, 2021

The York Catholic board has hired a veteran educator to its top job, after the short -- and controversial -- tenure of its previous director, who had a few years of teaching experience before being named director.

The board announced Friday that Domenic Scuglia will take the helm starting Aug. 1. Scuglia is currently head of Regina’s Catholic School Division, but before that spent 34 years as a teacher and principal in York.

On Friday afternoon, a board spokesperson said neither Scuglia nor the board chair was available to comment on the appointment until Monday at the earliest.

However, in a written statement, board Chair Dominic Mazzotta said “we are thrilled to welcome Mr. Scuglia back to York Catholic as director of education.”

Mazzotta went on to say that Scuglia “is a proven leader within Catholic education in this country and a consensus builder who is not afraid of having tough conversations. He is a faith-filled Catholic with strong financial acumen and a strategic mindset. Mr. Scuglia is a champion for equity, human rights and social justice who will help ensure our board continues to move forward in this regard.”

Education Minister Stephen Lecce wished the new director success “as we work together to serve students and the growing and diverse York Region community. Our first priority remains delivering a more normal and safe experience for students to return back to class full-time, supported by our investments, and Ontario and York Region’s medical officers of health.”

Previous director Robert Hofstatter -- who lasted just a month before leaving in early April -- was the first to be hired under new provincial rules that don’t require those in the top job to have teaching credentials.

He spent two decades working in the financial world, followed by three years teaching at a private school before moving to the York Catholic District School Board.

During his first week on the job, the Star reported that he took part in an online workshop on equity, where his comments and repeated interruptions upset a York University professor and colleague leading the session.

They later wrote to the board, cancelling all upcoming training sessions.

Hofstatter also upset the Ministry of Education after sending out a email to parents of all 53,000 students suggesting that schools would be shut down, at a time when the province had decided to keep them open.

Parents had hoped the board would take the time to hire someone who would focus on anti-Black racism, equity and diversity.

“I am filled with joy to be returning home after spending five wonderful years in Saskatchewan, and I am looking forward to reconnecting with staff, students and families in the next school year,” Scuglia said in a written statement.

The board noted that it had followed a “rigorous recruitment process that included postings through several senior education organizations such as the Ontario Catholic Supervisory Officers Association (OCSOA) and Council of Ontario Directors of Education (CODE), as well as a number of diverse BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) education organizations including the Alliance of Black School Educators and the First Nations Education Administrators Association.”