O’Connell appointed to minister’s education panel

Six-person group to review public education system

Darrell Cole webcomments@ngnews.ca
Published on February 19, 2014

HALIFAX – A former school teacher and administrator from Pugwash has been selected to serve on the provincial government’s panel that will review the public education system in Nova Scotia.

Donna O’Connell joins former Lt. Gov. Myra Freeman, Mike Henderson of Brookfield, former Yarmouth resident Kyle Hill of Toronto and Gordon MacInnis of Sydney on the panel that will identify what Nova Scotians think needs to be done to strengthen the public education system.

O’Connell enjoyed a career of more than 40 years in the educational field, teaching in a rural elementary school and working as a special education teacher and assessor at the elementary and secondary level, as a guidance counselor, a student and special services supervisor with the former Cumberland district school board and English programs co-ordinator with the Chignecto-Central Regional School Board.

She has also been active in HarbourFest in Pugwash, was president of the Springhill Basketball Association and chairwoman of the Springhill, Amherst, River Hebert Community Health Board.

The panel will seek public opinion on what is working with public education and what needs improving.

“There has not been a comprehensive review of education in 25 years and a lot has changed,” Education Minister Karen Casey said Wednesday. “Government is committed to a new direction for the public education system. This review is the first step to doing that. I encouraged all Nova Scotians to give the panel their thoughts on how to improve public education. We want people to be part of the changes ahead for education.”

A former teacher with 25 years experience in the classroom, the former lieutenant governor said the panel brings a wealth of experience.

The panel will begin the process that will review the education system including a look at many components, from curriculum to technology to student outcomes and how to better adapt the education system to ensure success for all students in this changing environment.

A partners’ advisory group, made up a diverse group of organizations and educational peers, will assist the panel.

A Minister’s Action Plan on Education will be developed that will reflect the input of Nova Scotias during the consultation period.

“The review may provide both short-term and long-term direction, and some changes to public education may be implemented as soon as the 2014-15 school year,” the minister said.