Northern Ontario Education Leaders (NOEL) is an organization of leaders of educational organizations in Northwestern Ontario. NOEL serves as a forum to discuss issues of common concern and to develop projects that will be of direct benefit to students.
Northern Ontario Education Leaders is a partnership between nine district school boards and three educational institutions/organizations. The Ministry of Education is a partner, represented by the Thunder Bay Regional Office.
NOEL is currently chaired by Rick Boisvert, Director of Education, Northwest Catholic District School Board.
NOEL has several significant on-going initiatives underway: Improving Aboriginal Student Success, Literacy, Leadership and Aboriginal Self Identification.
When District School Boards were created in January 1998, leaders from the major education institutions in this region decided to create NOEL, to serve as a forum to discuss issues of common concern.
NOEL Directors meet approximately six times a year: three are formally scheduled and the others are called to meet on specific topics or with special guests. Each member organization pays $500/year to cover the costs of meetings.
Each District School Board also contributes to pay the salary of a co-ordinator who organizes two conferences every other year: one for senior administrative staff and a leadership conference for aspiring and current school and board leaders. Every member and all First Nation schools and organizations are invited to send participants. A fee is charged and all are oversubscribed. The co-ordinator works with a different committee for each conference. The membership of the committees includes representation from each member organization.
The NOEL group maintains a high level of cooperation and mutual planning. Above all, there is a shared sense of commitment and respect for each other. The group meets with an optimistic tone that focuses on identifying issues and developing joint solutions.
NOEL is continually looking for ways to co-operatively improve student achievement, a format which other Boards across the province have sought to emulate. Funding has become available from the Ministry for joint projects and there has been an interest expressed by Aboriginal education leaders to have closer connections with school boards. With an ever broadening range of new technologies, electronic connections will supplement face-to-face meetings.