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Zoë Watson is the outgoing superintendent of the Anglophone South School District. Image: Brad Perry

Zoë Watson Retires On Tuesday

By Tamara Steele Oct 31, 2022 | 5:59 AM

It’s the end of an area for the Anglophone South School District.

Superintendent Zoë Watson will officially retire as of Tuesday, November 1st.

In a recent interview, Watson said she’ll miss people the most along with the events, including countless Christmas concerts, plays and graduations.

The outgoing superintendent said she found missing people and schools the hardest part of the pandemic.

“One of the hardest times was when we working from home here in our office. Luckily, it only lasted a few weeks for us. I really missed through the pandemic that I couldn’t be out in schools and I couldn’t attend events and celebrations because they weren’t happening,” Watson said.

Watson worked for more than 40 years in education.

“My career first started in 1981, teaching grade six at Sussex Corner Elementary school,” Watson said.

Watson said over her long career, the biggest challenges were navigating the pandemic, a measles outbreak in 2019, and the district amalgamation of 2012.

She previously served as the superintendent for the former District 6 before taking a post with the department of education and returned to the role in a new, larger way in 2012 when the districts amalgamated.

Her area of responsibility grew from 24 schools between Sussex and the Kennebecasis Valley to more than 70 schools when adding in Saint John and St. Stephen area schools.

“That was challenging. At that time, I would say the three areas were quite happy to be the three areas. They were three very different areas. Within those three former districts, there would be different sizes of schools, just different dynamics,” Watson said.

Watson often said it would be a five-year task to bring all those schools together and it was.

“It was a lot of very hard work but, it was very rewarding work when it all came together,” Watson said.

She said her two stints with the Department of Education allowed her to see “a bigger picture.”

“The provincial perspective is a good one. It helps you understand sometimes why things are happening the way they are. It allows you to see education through another lens,” Watson said.

When it comes to advice for Derek O’Brien, the incoming superintendent, Watson said it’s helpful to be a good multi-tasker.

“We are a large district. There are a lot of things happening on any given day. It is very fast-paced and I’ve enjoyed that. It’s just that uncertainty of what every day might bring,” Watson said.

Both Watson and O’Brien will remain connected throughout the month of November.


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