Community / Press Release

Nicholas Katalifos appointed new EMSB Director General

Nick Katalifos - DG
Montreal - Friday, March 26, 2021

The Council of Commissioners of the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) announced today the appointment of Nicholas Katalifos as its Director General, effective March 29.   Given the fact he is not immediately available to fulfil these duties, Pelagia Nickoletopoulos will serve as Interim Director General.

Mr. Katalifos has worked for the EMSB and the former Protestant School Board of Greater Montreal for 29 years. For the past three years he has served as the Principal of the Wagar Adult Education Centre in Côte Saint-Luc. Prior to that he was the Principal of three elementary schools – Roslyn in Westmount and General Vanier and Pierre de Coubertin in St. Léonard – and he was the Vice Principal of two elementary schools – Gardenview in St. Laurent and Westmount High. He began his career in the education system as a teacher.

Mr.  Katalifos has been integrally involved with community groups and associations, particularly as they relate to special needs. Since 2010 he has been the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Giant Steps School and Resource Center.  The school was established to educate and provide assistance to students on the autism spectrum.  In addition, the school runs a resource center for parents, professionals and autistic adults. His term as Chairman ends in June.

EMSB Chair Joe Ortona said that the search committee mounted a thorough search for a new Director General. 

“Over his career at the EMSB and its predecessor the PSBGM, Mr Katalifos has worked in senior positions in our elementary, secondary and adult and vocational sectors,” said Mr. Ortona. “He brings an in-depth knowledge of our operations and our challenges to his new assignment, and we are confident under his leadership we will continue to meet the needs of our students and their families and remain the top performing school board in the province.

“Throughout his career Mr. Katalifos has demonstrated a commitment to a team-oriented, project-based approach and to establishing an effective dialogue with all stakeholders including students, staff, parents and community partners and school board personnel. In the short term Mr Katalifos will be focusing on ensuring our teachers have the tools they need to help young people succeed once they are all back in the classroom and safety measures have been relaxed. Under his guidance we are determined to incorporate the key learnings from the pandemic into our day-to-day operations.”

Mr. Katalifos will also be working with the Council of Commissioners and his management team on the development and implementation of the EMSB strategic plan and overseeing the professionalization of administrative support services. “Key initiatives include the updating of our information systems, the strengthening of our human resources policies and procedures, the modernization of our material management and contracting services and the setting up an effective internal audit and compliance department,” said Mr. Ortona.

Mr. Ortona also extended his appreciation to Russell Copeman. ‘Since our election last November, we have benefitted from the wisdom and sound advice of Mr. Copeman, who stepped in to serve as our Interim Director General. Russell is returning to his position as Executive Director of the Quebec English School Boards Association,” he said. “On behalf of all of us I wish to thank him for his support and leadership.”

Mr. Katalifos obtained his BA and MA in History from Concordia University, his Diploma in Education from McGill University and his Workplace Mental Health Certificate more recently from Queens University.

“This is a very exciting opportunity for me and I cannot wait to get started,” said Mr. Katalifos. “I consider the EMSB to be part of my DNA. I am so proud to be assuming this position for a Board which continually has the highest success rate among English Montreal school boards in the province.”

About the English Montreal School Board

With a youth and adult sector population of more than 37,000 students, the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) is the largest English public school board in Quebec. Established on July 1, 1998, when the province created new boards along linguistic lines. Our network consists of 77 schools and centres. For more details, visit the EMSB website at