The Grand Erie District School Board has a new director of education.
JoAnna Roberto, who has been a superintendent of education at the District School Board of Niagara for eight years, will replace retiring director Brenda Blancher.
Roberto will begin her new role as head of the Grand Erie board on Aug. 1.
“JoAnna is a compassionate and collaborative leader who brings a wealth of knowledge and experience with her,” said board chair Greg Anderson. “Her focus on building relationships with staff and students as a way to boost confidence and increase overall achievement and well-being aligns nicely with our multi-year plan and its focus on success for every student.”
As superintendent of curriculum and student achievement in Niagara, Roberto was responsible for the learning agenda and information technology in a district serving 36,000 students.
She was also responsible for the math strategy, Indigenous education, French immersion, Early Years, international education, and English as a second language.
Roberto was appointed Grand Erie’s new director at a special board meeting on June 24.
“I look forward to collaborating with trustees and the senior administration team, principals, vice-principals, teachers, support staff and families within all our school communities,” she said. “In particular, I look forward to reaching out and offering my friendship to Grand Erie’s First Nations community members — Six Nations of the Grand River and Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation.”
Roberto began her career in education in 1997 as an elementary teacher with the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board. She then returned to her hometown of Niagara Falls, where she worked in a number of roles, including teacher, vice-principal, principal and superintendent.
Roberto, whose parents and grandparents emigrated from Italy, credits much of her success to her tight-knit family. She has a master’s degree from Niagara University and is currently completing her PhD in the university’s leadership and policy program.
Blancher, who has been the director at the Grand Erie board since 2015, announced her retirement in January after 35 years in education.