Rick Gales retires from school board business

for the Upper Canada District School Board (UCDSB). The man known with affection as “Crusty” among his district colleagues starts his official retirement Sept. 1 after an education career spanning 24 years. UCDSB Comptroller of Finance Nancy Barkley will take over his duties. “I’m planning a trip to Italy, and a lot of relaxing, gardening, skiing, canoeing and golfing,” the 65-year-old Gales stated. Gales is a certified management accoun- tant who graduated from McGill University

in 1972 with a Bachelor of Commerce de- gree. He lives on Ault Island near Morris- burg with his wife France. They have three grown children: Genevieve, Stephanie and Jason. Gales came to Eastern Ontario in Septem- ber 1989 as head of finance for the former Stormont-Dundas-and-Glengarry County Board of Education. Prior to that, he spent seven years in the finance department for the St. Boniface School Division Number 4 in Manitoba. After the school board amalgamations in Ontario in 1998, Gales became one of three chief financial officers for the new Up- per Canada district. His main responsibility then was managing the amalgamation of all the facilities once controlled by the four separate predecessor local boards. He achieved the post as the UCDSB’s first superintendent of business in 2001 during the term of then-director Gino Giannan- drea. David K. Thomas, UCDSB’s current di- rector of education, said Gales transformed the business department into a high-per- formance team. “Rick is a great leader,”Thomas stated. “He has vision, but also gets that we have to be accountable to the public so we can provide a world-class education to our students. He ensured we have the financial safeguards in place so we are seen as accountable and he has put the right people in place to ensure we get the job done.” Gales’s other accomplishments during his time with the UCDSB included a critical

role in establishing the new Student Trans- portation of Eastern Ontario (STEO) busing consortium, setting up financial assistants in the district’s families of schools to bet- ter regulate school finances and ease the burden of school office administrators, cre- ating an internal auditor’s position to sup- port the system, and reviewing and revising the UCDSB’s occupational health and safety practices and thus helping reduce absentee and accident rates. Board Chairman Greg Pietersma noted that Gales’s expertise, his wit and his pas- sion for public education will be missed. “Rick is an excellent financial administra- tor,” stated Pietersma. “But what made him so great was not just that he kept track of our dollars, but that his focus on financial management was always through the lens of what was best for our students. He used our dollars to ensure we deliver a world- class education system that helps our grad- uates succeed.” An example of Gales’ skills in managing money is how he averted a financial crisis for the UCDSB eight years ago when the Ed- ucation Ministry clawed back a $10 million reserve fund from the district. The UCDSB had set the money aside to deal with revamping its special education programs. Despite the loss of funding, the district went ahead with plans to improve the spe- cial education program. Gales and his team were able to make that happen through savvy financial management.


BROCKVILLE | The man who revamped the bus system for students at Upper Canada district schools is going to more time now with either a golf club in hand or a garden hoe. After the Labour Day weekend Rick Gales steps down as superintendent of business

Slow down, school in session

Photo Gregg Chamberlain

It’s back to school time and that means the school zone speed limits go back in force. Police will be running random checkstops of school zones throughout the region to catch drivers putting on too much speed during school hours Monday to Friday.

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