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Acting TDSB head vows to move forward after predecessor’s plagiarism scandal

Acting director of the Toronto District School Board Donna Quan speaks at a news conference on Jan. 18, 2013. CITYNEWS

The acting head of the Toronto District School Board (TDSB) has vowed to move forward after a plagiarism scandal which besieged her predecessor, Chris Spence.

On her first day on the job on Friday, acting director Donna Quan stressed her commitment to public education, fiscal accountability and programs begun under Spence’s watch. Spence stepped down earlier this month after admitting to plagiarizing parts of an opinion piece in the Toronto Star.

“I now need to refocus our energies,” she said at a news conference at the TDSB’s headquarters. “I acknowledge that the past week has been a little bit stormy. But the storm shall pass and we will move on.

“We wish Mr. Spence well, and we wish his family well.”

Calling public education “a must,” Quan told reporters her priorities were stability, excellence, public confidence in the system, and making sure classrooms have meaning for students.

She also said she would continue with Spence’s initiatives to help underachieving boys and addressed concerns about spending.

“Fiscal accountability is a must in any organization,” she said. “The [TDSB] represents $3 billion of taxpayer funds. We will ensure … better accountability on how those funds are used.”

Quan has worked with the TDSB for 28 years and was the deputy director before accepting her new post. She is married with three grown daughters.

“The TDSB is in my blood,” she said. “It’s in everything that I do and I am committed to the success of this board.”

Chair Chris Bolton said the TDSB has not started a formal search for a permanent director.