Léo Lefebvre had an impressive 35-year career in education. During that time, he was involved with the development of French education, and the creation of publicly funded French-language Catholic secondary schools in northeastern Ontario.
His first job after teacher’s college was at Garson-Falconbridge Secondary School, where he taught French, Latin and history. In 1998, he retired as director of education of the Conseil scolaire catholique du Nouvel-Ontario.
The 2018 winner of the Community Builders Award for Education taught in Sudbury and North Bay and was a high school principal. He was a former director of education with the Sudbury and District Catholic Separate School Board, and superintendent of French Immersion with the former Sudbury Board of Education. He worked as an education officer with the Ministry of Education.
In his last job, he played a leading role in forging the administration of French-language schools in the City of Greater Sudbury and the Districts of Sudbury and Algoma.
“He ensured a smooth transition…the hours invested in the creation of Conseil scolaire catholique du Nouvel-Ontario were countless,” says Hélène Chayer, who worked with Lefebvre for eight years and succeeded him as director. “Imagine building something from nothing.”
“The Conseil scolaire catholique du Nouvel-Ontario has become one of the top boards in Ontario today because of the solid foundation Mr. Lefebvre built, along with staff and trustees. My job was easier following in his path, as the most difficult decisions had been made,” she wrote in her confirmation letter.
A passionate educator, Lefebvre made a positive impression on thousands of students.
His experiences taught him extracurricular activities are key to keeping young people interested in school, and the best teachers are ones who volunteer after class to get to know their students better.
Benoît Bissonnette saw Lefebvre as a father figure when he attended École secondaire Franco-Jeunesse of Sudbury.
“What I admire the most in him is not only his professionalism but his honesty, integrity and incomparable wisdom, a true person of principle.”
Years later, when Bissonnette needed a friend to deal with a serious personal matter, he called on his former principal.
Lefebvre, a father of three, is thankful his wife of 52 years, Louise, has supported and encouraged his commitment to his career, the community and his church.
In 2015, he received the Cross of Honour from Pope Francis for his loyalty and service to the Roman Catholic Church and community involvement.
Lefebvre has been an active member (Emeritus) of Club Richelieu Sudbury for 40 years. Looking for a ticket to the club’s annual lobster dinner May 25 at the Caruso Club? Give him a call. He is an enthusiastic organizer of the event and has been known to sell as many as 200 tickets.
In 2017, Lefebvre received the highest honour bestowed by the Richelieu clubs, le Mérite Horace-Viau, for his years of leadership and volunteerism.
He has also been the chair of the board of Caisse populaire Lasalle (now called Voyageurs), a member of the Advisory Commission on French Language College Services in Northern, Central/Southwestern Ontario and given his time to many other good causes.
He currently lends his experience, administrative skills and compassion to Maison McCulloch Hospice as a member of the board.
“We don’t do volunteer work to get recognized, we do it because it feels good giving back.” he says.
Twenty years after retirement, he doesn’t miss the meetings, reports or politics. But “I miss the people,” he says.