July 2008: Jean Brugniau [fr]
A Fond Farewell
By Corinne Cecilia
Jean Brugniau will be stepping down from his position at Toronto French School after 35 years of service to Toronto’s school community. Brugniau joined TFS in 1973, teaching at the elementary school level. He gradually took on more responsibilities, including as principal of the Mississauga campus and of the Middle school division in Toronto. Brugniau has been Headmaster of TFS for the past 13 years, in charge of programs, administration, management, fundraising, and project development.
Throughout his career, Jean Brugniau has devoted himself to strengthening the position of French schooling within the educational system and to promoting academic excellence, multidisciplinary knowledge and an international perspective. His vision has been a driving force in the implementation of the International Baccalaureate Diploma at the school and has allowed a growing number of students to acquire a multilingual education and an outstanding preparation for university studies.
Under his leadership, Toronto French School has partnered with educational organisations in Canada and abroad to develop a diverse, co-educational environment that provides universal, democratic and humanitarian values greatly needed in today’s world.
Brugniau knows from his own experience that having an international background is invaluable and enriching. Born and schooled in France, he earned his Teaching Proficiency Certificate from the Ecole Normale de Mâcon, a State institution for the training of teachers and pursued post-graduate studies in Education at the prestigious Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (University of Toronto). As a young man, he developed an interest in North-America and wanted to live and work abroad, at least for one or two years… So, instead of joining the mandatory military service, he opted for the French army’s graduate employment program: he applied for a teaching position at Toronto French School, was hired and arrived in Canada as a “coopérant” with wife and child. The family kept close ties with the French culture while fully adopting the Canadian culture and lifestyle.
Jean Brugniau has held several positions in the broader education community, including Deputy Director of Alliance Française de Toronto, Director of a summer program at York University. In 2006, Jean Brugniau has been honoured by the Government of France, inducting him in the Ordre des Palmes Académiques, the oldest French civic honour awarded in France. The Ordre des Palmes Académiques is an Order of Chivalry of France awarded to academics and educators.
So we asked: what’s next for one of Toronto’s most popular school figures? First, he is going to take a well deserved summer vacation and indulge la joie de vivre in France. Then he will return and explore opportunities to share his teaching and management experience for the benefit of a non-governmental organisation, either at the local or at the international level.
“I may be stepping down but I want to remain actively involved in the community. And I would be very happy to share my educational and management experience with another non-profit organization. At TFS, my colleagues and I have been encouraging students to do volunteer work in the community and to learn about other children’s and adults’ realities; I believe that this is an important aspect of education.” The good news is, Jean Brugniau will remain based in Toronto. We wish him a fond farewell and all the best in his new endeavours.