Graduate Insight: Advancing Your Career within the School Board

Posted on Thursday November 07, 2019
Jonathan Howley
Jonathan Howley

A Q&A with Diploma in School Board Administration Graduate, Jonathan Howley

This winter, begin your educational journey towards a Diploma in School Board Administration. By enrolling in OpenEd’s Operational Resource Management course, you can expand your career opportunities and gain a competitive edge. School business operations courses are developed in partnership with the Ontario Association of School Business Officials (OASB), making it easy for you to enhance your ability to lead, manage and optimize business operations.

Just ask Jonathan Howley, senior manager of planning and accountability with Toronto Catholic District School Board (TCDSB) and school business operations graduate. Howley completed the Diploma in School Board Administration program as well as the Certificate in Facilities Management and Certificate in Human Resources Management for School Board Administration. He provided some insight into his experience with the program.

Why did you choose to pursue two certificates and the Diploma in School Board Administration program at U of G?

“I saw a large incoming wave of retirements and wanted to position myself as best I could for a promotion. While I knew I would not be able to complete the certificates and diploma in time, I felt that taking all three at the same time demonstrated my commitment to professional development and my desire to be an effective leader at the TCDSB.”

What stands out as rewarding experiences?

“The most rewarding experiences occurred in the summer certificate courses. It gave me the opportunity to meet my fellow online colleagues from the diploma program, as well as so many great people from other boards and municipalities. Sharing ideas and solutions to common problems in and outside of class has been incredibly rewarding.”

What challenges did you face? How did you overcome them?

“I began this journey when my first daughter was just two weeks old. It was a challenge to get back into the school mindset while also raising my two girls. When my second daughter had health complications, the program was able to accommodate and move some due dates without any issues. I am grateful for the support and understanding of Beverley Fretz (program manager) and my professors throughout these past four years.”

How have the courses/program helped you to advance your career?

“I began the course as an officer and am now a senior manager. I have these courses in part to thank for that, as well as some amazing mentors from the TCDSB. These courses have given me insight into how all of our departments work together to provide the best learning environments for our students.”

Recognizing that there will be many retirements in the coming years, how have the courses prepared you for future leadership roles?

“More on the above, it has improved my high level, ‘systems thinking’ that will continue to be a valuable asset in my future leadership opportunities.”

What advice would you give to future students pursuing school business operations certificate programs or the Diploma in School Board Administration?

“Just go for it! The diploma program helps in understanding how school boards operate as a whole. The certificate courses allow the opportunity to learn your chosen topic in greater detail, as well as build long-lasting relationships with colleagues in other boards and organizations across Ontario.”

Operational Resource Management begins Monday, January 13, 2020. Visit the course webpage to learn more and register.