Where Are They Now?
Thanks For the Memories, Chris Fuzessy
by Darren Becker
As part of the Lester B. Pearson School Board’s 25th anniversary celebrations the Pearson News is introducing a new feature called Where are They Now? Each edition features a profile of a former LBPSB employee who shares an update about their whereabouts and what they have been doing since leaving the LBPSB. In this edition we interview Chris Fuzessy who worked at the LBPSB from 1998 to 2019.
No one can ever accuse Chris Fuzessy of being afraid of a challenge. During his 20-year career at the Lester B. Pearson School Board (LBPSB), Chris held more than five different positions including, integration aide, teacher, vice-principal, principal, coordinator and assistant director of student services, and regional director.
Looking back at his two decades at the LBPSB Chris said he maintains so many fond memories, notably the great sense of camaraderie he shared with his fellow colleagues. He also said he was very proud of the LBPSB’s decision to offer bilingual and French immersion programs as they allowed students to acquire the skills they need to be successful in Quebec, Canada, and internationally.
“I learned so much from my peers and it was my colleagues who gave me the confidence that I could do all the different jobs I had at the school board. I still deeply appreciate the collegiality of my co-workers and miss working, learning, and laughing with all those great people,” said Chris.
The positive professional relationships he enjoyed at the LBPSB made it all the more difficult when he decided to leave Montreal and move to Alberta in 2019 with his wife, son, and two daughters, to pursue yet another career challenge. This time, to take on the position of Superintendent and Chief Education Officer at The Foothills School Division, located just south of Calgary, where he now oversees 25 schools with a total student population of 8,000 and just under 1000 employees.
While it’s been almost five years since he started his mandate at the Foothills School Division, in a recent phone interview Chris stated that only recently has he started to feel like he had finally settled into his new life and career.
The first two years of his mandate were spent dealing with the pandemic and all the ensuing administrative and operational challenges that he found himself facing at his new job. As well, it took a little time to adapt to life in Southern Alberta, having previously lived in Pointe-Claire and St. Lazare while he was working at the LBPSB. Chris noted that the Foothills area is a kind and welcoming community, and this certainly helped his family settle in over time. Chris and his family still returns to Montreal and Ottawa on a regular basis to visit friends and family and one of his daughters now calls Ottawa home.
The Foothills School Division website says Chris is “widely known as a leader who is consistently dedicated to the success and engagement of the greater school community.” Chris said that after close to 31 years as an educator he is merely adhering to the essential tenets of his educational philosophy which is to promote student, staff and community empowerment and constantly “redefine what it means to learn and to be successful, and the importance of learning something new on a daily basis.”
“Change makes people uncomfortable, but nothing stays static, so it’s important to slow down sometimes and challenge our societal expectations of success,” Chris remarked. “Finding meaning, purpose and positive impact in the work we do every day is my new understanding of success, and this can take place in every role throughout the education system,” Chris added.