Last week marked the start of a new school year for students, educators and administrators across Ontario. For many this meant the excitement of a new school, new classmates and new teachers. For others the day after Labour Day meant new responsibilities in supporting students on their educational path.
Among those in the last category is Heli Vail, who was appointed the new director of education for the Near North District School Board at the end of August. Her appointment was covered in length in the North Bay Nugget of September 4. Vail signed a five-year contract, and according to the article has a number of significant challenges in her new position, not the least is a decline in enrolment, which translates into a loss of millions of dollars from the board’s budget.
The Nugget reported that Heli Vail was born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie and graduated from Nipissing University’s education program. Her Estonian roots are mentioned prominently in the article. She taught in the Near North system before rising into the administrative ranks as vice-principal and subsequently principal.
Prior to the appointment Vail was superintendent of schools and programs for the board; before that she was chair and associate professor with the faculty of education at Nipissing. Heli Vail has also worked for the Ministry of Education’s Northeastern regional office as education officer. She emphasized that students, as always, will be her top priority in her new job.
Heli Vail new director of education in Near North