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John Godfrey to step down as head of Toronto French School

John Godfrey, former member of Parliament who led Toronto French School for six years.

Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press

The head of the Toronto French School has stepped down a year into his new contract.

The Globe and Mail has learned that John Godfrey, a former member of Parliament who led the private school for six years, will step down at the end of June.

Mr. Godfrey, 71, was vague about the reasons behind his departure. He declined to discuss other opportunities that have arisen. "I've done six years, and I've pretty much achieved everything I wanted to. It's all set in place. And I want to do something different," he said in an interview on Monday.

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Mr. Godfrey accepted the position to head the Toronto French School in July, 2008. He renewed a five-year contract that kicked in last year, with provisions that he could leave at any time, according to the school.

Asked about leaving so early in his new term, Mr. Godfrey responded: "It was always open to renegotiation, so I decided that we've done terrific things and I've done everything I can and it's time to move."

The chair of the school's board of directors said Mr. Godfrey chose the timing of his departure. Mitch Frazer sent a letter to parents last week to inform them Mr. Godfrey was stepping down.

"He was hired to basically start a vision for the school," Mr. Frazer said Monday. "Before we were just Toronto French School. Now we're Canada's international school. That's John. That's what he was hired to do. He executed on everything we'd hired him to do."

Mr. Frazer added: "He's only been there six years and he's transformed the entire brand."

For his part, Mr. Godfrey said he accomplished rebranding the school as an international school, made it more accessible through scholarships and allowed for curriculum innovation in areas of the environment and brain science.

The Toronto French School has an enrolment of about 1,400 students from the age of two to university entrance.

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The bilingual, co-educational private school offers the prestigious International Baccalaureate diploma program. The IB diploma program is a two-year curriculum that theoretically gives students an academic edge. It is a more challenging course load because it tends to cover more content, and, more important, develop different skills that are not necessarily emphasized in provincial curriculums.

Tuition at the school ranges from $12,000 to $29,000, depending on the child's grade level.

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Education Reporter

Caroline Alphonso is an education reporter for The Globe and Mail. More

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