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Donna Quan, shown Jan. 16, 2013.

PETER POWER/THE GLOBE AND MAIL

Trustees at the Toronto District School Board have selected a quiet, steady hand to lead Canada's largest and most diverse school board.

Donna Quan, the board's former deputy director, had been temporarily filling in after the previous director abruptly resigned amid allegations of plagiarism.

On Wednesday night, trustees approved a motion to offer Ms. Quan the position.

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Chris Bolton, the board's chair, said he will now begin negotiating a contract with Ms. Quan, a process that could take about two weeks.

"Donna was certainly the agreed upon candidate," Mr. Bolton said after meeting with trustees. He described Ms. Quan as a creative, thoughtful candidate, with a "wealth of experience."

If Ms. Quan accepts the position, she takes the helm of a $2.9-billion organization.

It was a difficult year for the TDSB. Chris Spence, often described as a charismatic, inspirational leader, resigned in January after allegations of plagiarism pertaining to everything from his personal blog to newspaper opinion pieces began piling up. The University of Toronto initiated an investigation into whether Dr. Spence plagiarized parts of his 1996 PhD dissertation. That investigation is continuing.

The board has also faced widespread criticism for the way it spends on construction projects, and a $10-million budget overrun at Nelson Mandela Park Public School prompted the Ontario government to cut off funding for new TDSB building projects last October. That funding was restored in exchange for trustees promising to sell off unused school land.

But problems persist. The government has initiated an investigation into the board's "financial management practices" at the request of Ms. Quan. The results of that investigation are expected this fall.

Those who know Ms. Quan say that she has an operational bent and thinks issues through. That's the opposite of Dr. Spence, who was a visionary leader.

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Ms. Quan started teaching in 1983. She moved to the TDSB in 1985 and has held a number of senior position, including principal and superintendent.

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