The English Montreal School Board is mourning the passing of long-time Commissioner Syd Wise.
Dr. Wise served as a school commissioner for Côte Saint-Luc for 21 years. He was first elected in 1994. In the last election of November 2, 2014 his ward was expanded to include Hampstead.
“This is an enormous loss for the EMSB and the entire community,” stated EMSB Chairman Angela Mancini. “Despite falling ill last winter, Syd continued to fulfill his duties and remained devoted to the future of public education. He will be missed greatly.”
Dr. Wise began his teaching career in the 1960’s with the former Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal. After having taught for seven years, he served as principal of Mount Royal, Malcolm Campbell, Outremont and Wagar High Schools. He also served as president of the Montreal Association of School Administrators (MASA). In addition, he held administrative posts in other educational institutions: Education Director of Temple Emanu-El-Beth Sholom, Principal of Yeshiva Godola Secular High School and as Director of a work program, for students of the Montreal Association for the Blind. For one term, prior to becoming a school commissioner, he served as councillor for the City of Montreal. He recently returned to his first passion, teaching, as a lecturer at Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) and McGill University.
Following last year’s vote, Dr. Wise was elected by his peers to become Chairman of the Executive Committee. “Syd had a most distinguished past in the educational system,” said Ms. Mancini. “As a teacher, principal and school commissioner he was always there to stick up for the rights of students and educators. In 1998, when school boards were reorganized along linguistic lines from religious, Syd played an important role in getting a significant voter turnout in those elections. He later oversaw a Focus Committee that looked at what type of new programs could be implemented at the EMSB, making a tour of different schools to hear what suggestions were out there. Under his leadership, programs were created to bring Jewish and non-Jewish students together to learn about each other’s culture. When the Parti Québecois tried to push through its Charter of Values, Syd stepped forward and played a leading role in the EMSB’s position against the legislation which never passed.”
“Syd Wise was an amazing man,” said Cote Saint-Luc Mayor Anthony Housefather. “I have known him for over a decade and we have worked together on many dossiers affecting the City of Cote Saint-Luc and the EMSB. He was kind, compassionate, intelligent and a great leader for the residents of the district he represented,” Housefather added. “I extend my deepest sympathies to his wife Cecile, his children, grandchildren, sister and the entire family.”