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From left to right: Derek O'Brien, incoming superintendent of the Anglophone South School District; Zoë Watson, outgoing superintendent; Roger Nesbitt, chair of the Anglophone South District Education Council. Image: Brad Perry

Anglophone South Names New Superintendent

By Brad Perry Oct 13, 2022 | 2:55 PM

A new superintendent has been named for the Anglophone South School District (ASD-S).

Derek O’Brien will take over for outgoing superintendent Zoë Watson when she retires on Oct. 31.

His appointment was announced during Wednesday’s ASD-S District Education Council meeting.

O’Brien, the district’s Director of Schools for the St. Stephen Education Centre, described it as an exciting opportunity.

“I had a lot of encouragement from people within our school system and people within the communities who would know me from my roles in the district and that really pushed me to give this an opportunity,” he told reporters after the meeting.

O’Brien began his teaching career in his native St. Stephen in 1995 and held a variety of roles, including high school social studies and history teacher, and elementary French immersion teacher.

He assumed his first administrative role in 2000 as vice-principal of Vincent Massey Elementary School in Saint Andrews. He returned to St. Stephen Elementary School in 2001 as vice-principal before becoming principal in 2005.

O’Brien was superintendent of the former School District 10 from 2009 until the provincial reorganization of districts in 2012. From there, he took on the role of Director of Curriculum and Instruction for the newly-formed Anglophone South School District.

After a brief stint as chief administrative officer for the Town of St. Stephen from 2015 to 2017, O’Brien returned to the district as Director of Schools for the St. Stephen Education Centre.

“In all of those experiences, I still remember that students are at the centre of it and that’s what drives me in the work that I do every day,” said O’Brien.

Roger Nesbitt, chair of the ASD-S District Education Council (DEC), said the process began in June when Watson announced her plans to retire.

Nesbitt said they worked with KRBS, an executive search firm from Newfoundland and Labrador, to narrow the initial 16 candidates down to four.

After a series of virtual interviews and assessments, the final two candidates were brought in for face-to-face interviews, he said.

Nesbitt said they received applications from across Canada, but most were from people in Atlantic Canada.

The appointment of O’Brien is for a five-year term. At that time, Nesbitt said DEC members will evaluate his performance and potentially offer him a five-year extension.

Watson said she was glad to see O’Brien appointed to the position as he knows the district “very, very well.”

“It’s certainly very positive that he knows the schools and knows the other members of our team and our school principals,” said Watson.

Over the next few weeks, Watson said she will work closely with O’Brien to help him transition into the role.


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