Catholic board head to retire

Rainy River District will lose an important figure in education this summer when John Madigan, the director of education for the Northwest Catholic District School Board, retires.
Madigan came to the board three years ago from the Ottawa Valley, along with his wife, Fran.
“We were in a position where we were able to pick up and go. It sure has been an adventure for us,” Madigan said of their three years in Northwestern Ontario.
Madigan had worked for the Renfrew Country Catholic District School Board for about 20 years. “I have taught every grade from JK to Grade 8, and have taught adults at summer courses,” he noted.
After having been principal at five different schools, Madigan said he felt ready to do something different before retiring. He started his position here in August, 2001.
During his tenure, Madigan helped implement what is called policy governance.
“It simply means that the board tries to deal with tomorrow instead of yesterday,” he explained. “It gets the board focusing on the road ahead.
“They were moving into that when I got here, but it was a huge amount of work,” he added.
Board chair Gerry Rousseau said changing to a policy governance model has been very beneficial. “That whole process has taken the board a long way,” he remarked. “[Madigan] paved the way for a lot of that.”
But Madigan refuses to take credit.
“I don’t see them as much as my accomplishments as our accomplishments,” he stressed. “I’m lucky enough to work with a great team.”
“He’s done a great job getting our board to where it is,” said Rousseau, adding Madigan had developed “a very good working relationship and a trusting relationship with the board.”
“That’s the key to a good-running board.”
Madigan and his wife likely will return to Barry’s Bay—a small community near Algonquin Park in eastern Ontario—to enjoy some form of retirement.
“I’ll continue working in education. I may retire and do something part-time at a university or college,” he noted.
Meanwhile, the board already has begun advertising for the position, with an expected start date of Aug. 1, 2004. But the person who steps in will have big shoes to fill.
“He’s going to be a tough person to replace,” Rousseau said of Madigan. “We’re going to miss him.”
(Fort Frances Times)