After 40 years of experience in the world of education, Esther Lemieux, Director General of the Center de services scolaire des Navigateurs (CSSDN) for 10 years, announced her resignation at the end of March at the end of the school year. If she considers the upcoming departure to be “the most difficult decision of her life”, the manager also leaves with a sense of achievement.
“My husband, who was in business, decided three years ago to sell his fortune. And me, it’s been 40 years since I’ve evolved in the world of education. Even if I left in a year, the pain of leaving would be the same. Due to the pandemic, the past two years have not been educational development years. With the new commitment plan that accompanies the department’s new strategic planning, I would prefer to leave room for a new Director General,” Ms Lemieux explained the reasons for her retirement.
His departure from the executive board of CSSDN will therefore put an end to a rich career he has dedicated to the South Shore educational community. While she initially considered studying law at her father’s request, her interest in pedagogy ultimately pushed her to study to become a teacher.
“I can’t remember what made me pursue education, but I think my uncle’s example inspired me. He began his career in education and I found the passion with which he spoke about his work and his students fascinating. After all, I have never regretted my choice. I’ve always been very happy. […] I chose the best job in the world. I think I fell on a lucky star and won the lottery many times, I’ve always had the chance to work with great teams,” stressed the CSSDN Director General.
After working as a teacher and school principal, holder of a postgraduate diploma in education, a micrograduate program in school administration, a master’s degree in administration and school politics, a bachelor’s degree in special education and a bachelor’s degree in elementary, pre-school and Curative Education, was coordinator of the development and implementation of success plans in the office of the Deputy Minister of the Ministère de l’Education, du Loisir et du Sport.
In 2003 she became head of the educational services of CSSDN’s ancestor, the Commission scolaire des Navigateurs (CSDN), before succeeding Joanne Plourde as head of the organization nine years later.
The student at the center of the action
In addition to her achievements, Esther Lemieux is particularly proud of having created a strong team spirit within the CSSDN, whose mission is to always have the student at the center of its endeavours.
“Honestly, I’m proud to have put together a team of managers who don’t work for their school but for the organisation. It wasn’t easy, but you have to believe in it to get there. For an organization to develop and mature, there must also be maturity at the micro level. People want to work together and building networks within our organization has cemented the transitions for our students. […] It is important to always think of the students before making a decision. Our primary mission is to educate, qualify and socialize our students. That has always been the most important thing to me. The best gifts I can get are former students that I tagged and who reconnect with me. All this has never made me regret the right,” shared the Director General of CSSDN.
However, as with any position of responsibility, Esther Lemieux’s transition to the organisation’s executive board was not a long smooth river. As one of the most difficult times she has experienced, she immediately recalls the political crisis that paralyzed the CSDN’s defunct board in the mid-2010s due to a conflict between President François Caron and a majority of the commissioners.
Even the layoffs or the decisions to close schools because of the storms, both welcomed and criticized by the citizens, do not get boring for the CSSDN director general.
An omnipresent passion
If she wants to devote this new phase of her life to the realization of personal projects, Esther Lemieux does not want to leave her environment in which she has developed over the past four decades.
“I’ve had to turn down this offer in the past, but I’d definitely like to teach at the university. I would also like to support the promotion of young executives in the education sector. Given the labor shortage, resources are scarce and we need to conserve them. I will not necessarily be looking for mandates, but I would like to continue to make a difference in the field of education. But my first retirement project will be to take a break for a while,” concluded the one who hasn’t counted her hours at the helm of CSSDN in recent years.