CORNWALL, Ontario – After decades of working with local school boards, Superintendent of Cornwall and Brockville family schools Tim Mills is officially retiring on Jan. 31.
“I’ve had a great career and don’t have any regrets. I’ve said it to a number of people…all you want is an opportunity for people to mentor you and to be given a chance, and I am thankful to have been given so many chances,” said Mills, reflecting on his career and everyone who assisted him throughout.
In the late 1980s, Mills decided to pursue a Bachelor of Education at Lakehead University after coaching and working as a supply teacher at Central Public School. Upon attaining his degree, he took on several roles in the education stream, including working as the Principal of Memorial Park Public School from 2000 to 2003, and Principal of General Vanier Intermediate School from 2003 to 2008. During his time at General Vanier, Mills’ two youngest children attended the school, which was special to him.
“(As principal) you have the opportunity to have a vision for your school, to provide leadership to students and staff in the community…I mean, the reason we are in these roles is because we like to work with students, see them go on and succeed and get into great roles,” said Mills.
Mills also always had an interest in working with children with different needs. He was the Special Education consultant with UCDSB and Vice Principal of a day treatment program run through the Cornwall Community Hospital (CCH).
As Superintendent, Mills was responsible for oversight of Cornwall and Brockville schools. He also supervised international education, e-learning, alternative adult education, summer semesters and was part of team that oversaw board leadership development. Susan Rutters, Acting Superintendent of Schools, has already begun to take on the various portfolio responsibilities of Mills’.
Mills is proud and thankful of many things throughout his career. He takes pride in assisting in the development of international education for the UCDSB, which lead to extensive travelling and speaking about Eastern Ontario. Mills is also extremely proud of TR Leger and sees how rewarding it is to work with adults in an alternative learning environment. He is happy he got the chance to meet and know Mr. Leger.
“I wanted to make some kind of impact in our own community,” said Mills.
Mills said that working alongside community organizations like Boys & Girls Club of Cornwall, SDG, as well as being able to work closely with students from Akwesasne through the tuition agreement at General Vanier was very near and dear to his heart.
Mills acknowledged that a lot of beneficial changes have occurred with local UCDSB schools in the last 10 years. He said that Trustee David McDonald was a real leader throughout the process and is a great Trustee, colleague and friend.
“There has been a lot said about how there are challenging times ahead perhaps (for the school board). I’ve said multiple times in different opportunities…we have been though challenges before. Imagine taking four school districts and putting them together…we always got through the challenges and often turned them into opportunities.”
Mills is looking forward to spending more time with his four children and soon to be five grandchildren in his retirement. He anticipates seeking out volunteering opportunities in the future.
“It’s strange,” said Mills. “You work your whole career…spend three decades doing that and then you’re a free agent.”