A Farewell Message from Retiring Interim Director Mary Battista

Friday, February 26, 2021 is my last day of work at the York Catholic District School Board and it is with mixed emotions that I write this message of farewell – emotions such as happiness and anticipation for a new chapter ahead, sorrow to be leaving a wonderful work family and a satisfying career, and immense pride for all that has been accomplished in my 37-year career.

From my early days as a French teacher, elementary school teacher and Teacher Librarian, through my time as an Administrator and Superintendent, all the way to my current role as Interim Director, it is with the students in the classroom where my heart truly lies. They have been my guide, my inspiration and the reason behind all my actions and decisions. 

One of the highlights of my career at York Catholic was in 2010, when I had the honour of opening St. Cecilia Catholic Elementary School as its founding Principal. The feelings of joy and hope the staff and I experienced watching students enter the school that first day will stay with me always. What an opportunity that was to be able to help expand access to Catholic education in our region!

I have fond memories of my time as a School Superintendent and Superintendent of Curriculum and Assessment. The energy and creativity of the entire team always inspired me. The commitment to our teachers and administrators and our students’ academic success and well-being was evident in all that we did. 

How honoured I am to have served as your Interim Director of Education for the past six months. During my tenure, the COVID-19 pandemic has certainly been at the forefront and focus of all my efforts, and, as always, my top priority was to ensure that our schools remained safe for staff and students. 

In the Fall we implemented our Hybrid Model for both elementary and secondary students, we introduced our STREAM Centres of Excellence, rolled out the new Provincial Math Curriculum, and continued the important work of nurturing the faith development of our students while focusing on their mental health and well-being during this pandemic.  

Every single one of these accomplishments has been a team effort, and I know that this is just a small sample of the great work that has taken place in recent months and years. Together, we have made progress and moved the system forward during one of the most challenging times in our history. I am proud to say that together, we have a lot to celebrate as a result of great collaboration and teamwork.

To the superb staff at the Catholic Education Centre, our Senior Team, our hardworking school administrators and school staff teams, our Union partners, our Ministry of Education liaisons,  our partners across the system and our Trustees,  I sincerely thank each one of you for the role you play in making the York Catholic District School Board one of the best school boards in Ontario!  It is indeed the students and the families who are the beneficiaries of this amazing team. 

Since announcing my retirement, I have received so many touching emails, phone calls, cards and tributes.  Thank you to everyone who has reached out.  Your kind words have made me feel supported, blessed, and humbled.

As I retire today, I thank you for contributing to the 37 years of memories I made at York Catholic. I will cherish these memories forever and I will miss you all. 

May God keep you safe and may He bless you today and always.