Newly appointed Director of Education at Simcoe County District School Board (SCDSB), Steven Blake brings several years’ experience working in Durham, Simcoe and BlueWater Districts. In his recent role as Director at Bluewater District School Board, Blake worked to address challenging financial pressures and student achievement.
Blake’s progressive career in education began as a teacher who went on to be department head, vice-principal, and principal at a number of schools. His immediate priorities in his first year as SCDSB Education Director are the strategic plan, community partners, schools, and budget priorities impacting student achievement and well-being.
“Student achievement is our core business, it’s very important for us to do all that we can to meet our students where their learning needs are and what we are finding is becoming more and more challenging,” says Blake.
Blake identified mental health as an area affecting student well-being and the need to address it as early as possible. He also discussed financial barriers and increased accessibility for students with special needs.
There is no doubt that Blake’s resume is long and his experience in the region is vast. His last role as director of Bluewater District School Board gained him valuable experience with “challenging financial pressures”.
It was there that he worked on advancing student progress through various initiatives. In doing so, Blake conducted an intense review of the Boards strategic plans which eventually led him to his new role at the SCDSB.
The Simcoe Board also continues to face financial pressures relating to special education, transportation, underutilized space, and maintaining their learning stasis. Blake is confident that experience and teamwork will be the Boards greatest asset in facing them:
“We are fortunate though that we have very strong teachers and support staff and there is excellent leadership at both the school and the board level that focuses on our student achievement and well-being,” said Blake.
His passion for teaching should also be noted as it was his first job as a swimming instructor that led him to education. He was a student, himself, at the time studying for a Bachelor Degree in Science:
“I was a swimming instructor and found that pretty motivating so I was able to combine that with my passion for science and my enjoyment of teaching and started out as a science teacher. I was one of those individuals who was very fortunate to combine a couple of passions,” shared Blake.
Director Blake began his teaching career in the Durham District School Board, and in 2009 joined the SCDSB as a Superintendent of Education. In 2013 he moved to the Bluewater District School Board where served as Director before applying for his current position.
Blake earned an undergrad Honours Degree in Science from the University of Guelph, then a Bachelor of Education, and Masters of Educational Administration from the University of Toronto. He commenced his role as Director of Education at SCDSB March 20.
“I’m excited to be back with the SCDSB and look forward to working with staff and our community partners to fulfil our mission and vision,” said Blake.