DAN CEARNS, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, for The Standard
NORTH DURHAM: The Durham Catholic District School Board (DCDSB) has appointed a new trustee to serve the residents of Brock, Scugog and Uxbridge. Following the resignation of Kathy LeFort from the position earlier this year, the local board recently announced they’ve appointed Richard Damianopoulos to take over as the new North Durham trustee. “A devoted husband and father, Mr. Damianopoulos is actively involved in Catholic Ministry at Sacred Heart Parish in the Township of Uxbridge; and an advocate for Catholic education in his community,” a DCDSB press release explained. Board Chair Janice Oldman was happy with the decision. “We are pleased to welcome Richard Damianopoulos to the Board of Trustees. His dedication to the Catholic community and passion for advocacy will complement our team, as we work together to provide opportunities that meet the wide range of needs of our diverse learners,” she said, in a press release. Mr. Damianopoulos told The Standard he is looking forward to taking on the challenges of representing the rural municipalities on the board. “I’m thrilled to be given the opportunity to represent the community. I think it’s a very important role in the Catholic school community, and I’m just very honoured to have been given this opportunity. I’m thankful for the board placing their trust in me,” he said. The new trustee talked about what he brings to the board. “I’m an advocate for Catholic education. I had run for this position in the last two municipal elections. It’s been a conversation I have been involved in, the conversation around how our school board is run and the importance of catholic education in the community, for many years now,” he explained. “For one, I bring support from the community, having received votes in support in the last couple [of] municipal elections. I hope to bring my involvement in my parish community here in Uxbridge, that’s something that’s very important to me personally. I think part of what the Catholic school board trustee does is act as a link between the school board, parents and parishes. I hope to be that bridge, to be that link that is able to involve people across all levels of our community in the operation of our board. I also have a professional career in public policy, and the school board is responsible for governance and policy, so I hope to bring some professional skills in the area of communication, and the ability to represent diverse interests to the board.” As the only North Durham trustee on the board, Mr. Damianopoulos hopes to be a strong voice for residents in the northern communities. “We have unique issues up here in North Durham. We are different from the communities in South Durham. I think it’s very important the North is heard at the school board.” Mr. Damianopoulos stated his plans for his early days as North Durham’s trustee. “I think reaching out to the other board members [will be a priority]. It’s very important to work collaboratively, and as a team as a board. Teamwork is how we can accomplish anything,” he said.