Trustee McCool Announces Retirement

Trustee Barbara McCool Announces Retirement Following 46 Years of Service to Catholic Education
Posted on 12/05/2023
The Nipissing-Parry Sound Catholic District School Board (NPSC) wishes to extend warm congratulations to Barbara McCool, Trustee (North Bay), on the occasion of her retirement, effective November 30, 2023, following a remarkable 46 years of service to Catholic Education and NPSC.

Barbara McCool has served as a Trustee with the Nipissing-Parry Sound Catholic District School Board since 1977. During her exceptional service record, she held the role of Chair of the Board from 1999-2000, from 2002-2004, again between 2009-2018, and was Vice-Chair between 2018-2020 and 2022-2023. Barbara also served as both a Trustee member and Chair of the NPSC Special Education Advisory Committee for over 25 years.

Barbara has made many contributions to NPSC and our wider community serving on various Board Committees and working groups throughout her career as a Catholic school trustee.  Always guided by her faith, she was instrumental in the development of the Board’s Faith and Spiritual Development Committee and the initiation of the Board of Trustees Faith Retreat.  Barbara also demonstrated her servant leadership through her membership with a number of community associations including but not limited to the Association for Community Living, the Nipissing Down Syndrome Society, and the Mental Health Services Board.

Over the course of her tenure as a Catholic school Trustee, Barbara has been a passionate advocate for inclusion of students, demonstrating a steadfast and unwavering commitment to the Board and its broader community, devoting her life to addressing the needs of children and adults with disabilities and to improving their quality of life.  Her role in advocacy for students resulted in the development of the first integrated and specialized program for children with special education needs in the Nipissing-Parry Sound Catholic District School Board.

Nearly five decades ago, in 1977, when Barbara first became a Catholic school Trustee, programs in special education, in Ontario school boards, were very limited.  As a mother of a child with special needs, she began her advocacy for special education when she enrolled her child in a regular Kindergarten classroom in 1980.  Her perseverance resulted in the first integrated and specialized program for children with special education needs in the Nipissing-Parry Sound Catholic District School Board.  

This single integrated and specialized program with a dedicated teacher and educational assistant, working together with a devoted mother who had a vision, illuminated by her faith, forged a new path for many generations of students that would soon follow. In collaboration with our NPSC Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) and Board, the single classroom since expanded to become the robust and innovative special education programs that NPSC offers today, with a wide range of services and programs to meet the needs of all our students in both our elementary and secondary panels.

Through Barbara’s advocacy and determination, inspired by the gospel teaching that all children are created in God’s image, she ensured that all students who walked through the doors of our Catholic schools received the support and assistance that needed to flourish and reach their full potential in an inclusive manner.

“I feel very privileged and proud to have served with so many Catholic Trustees, Directors of Education and Senior Administration teams over the years to support our shared vision of providing an inclusive faith-based education that promotes the dignity of each child.  As a Catholic school Trustee, I was driven by a strong sense of commitment to Catholic Education and to advocating on behalf of all children, including those with special needs.” said Barbara.

“On behalf of our Board of Trustees, we extend to Barbara our sincere appreciation and profound gratitude for her faith-filled service and the many lasting contributions made to the Nipissing-Parry Sound Catholic District School Board and Catholic Education in Ontario.  We offer to her our most prayerful blessings for a happy retirement, and may God bless her as she begins this new journey.” shares Shawn Fitzsimmons, Board Chair.

Barbara’s servant leadership and fervent commitment to the broader community has been recognized throughout her career. In 1993, the North Bay and Area Business and Professional Women’s Club awarded her with a Woman of Distinction Award, and in 2006 the Ontario Catholic Schools’ Trustees Association recognized Barbara with a Trustee Award of Merit.

“Over the course of her extraordinary record of service, Barbara has been a true source of inspiration to all at NPSC.  Her exercise of servant leadership in Catholic Education and unwavering commitment to all students, particularly those with special education needs, leaves a legacy in our system for future generations of students. On behalf of our staff, we extend to our deep gratitude and prayerful congratulations to her on a well-deserved retirement.”  adds Paula Mann, Director of Education.

“On behalf of the Ontario Catholic School Trustees’ Association, I congratulate you on your retirement as a Catholic School Trustee on the Nipissing-Parry Sound Catholic District School Board. I join your colleagues and many friends in commending you for your 46 years of faith-filled and dedicated service. Most especially, I thank you for the significant positive difference you have made in the lives of countless students, our Church and publicly funded Catholic education in Ontario.” shares Pat Daly, OCSTA President.

The Nipissing-Parry Sound Catholic District School Board will begin the process of filling this trustee vacancy in North Bay in accordance with the Ontario Education Act. 

For more information or inquiries, please contact Victoria Johnson, Executive Assistant to the Director of Education & Secretary of the Board, at [email protected].