The board room of the Saskatoon School Division is dedicated to the memory and leadership of William Benjamin Doyle (1875-1942), a long-time trustee and chair of the Board of Education.
W.B. Doyle served as a member of the Board of Education for 21 years, beginning in 1920. He served 20 consecutive years as board chair, from 1921 until his retirement as a trustee in 1940. At the time, trustees were elected to one-year terms, which ran from January to December.
Doyle's leadership of the Board of Education includes a legacy of financial stewardship. He played an important role in steering both the city and school division during a time of significant growth during the turbulent decade of the 1920s and throughout the years of the Great Depression.
When teachers had to accept salary reductions due to the slow rate of tax collections during the Depression, Doyle felt so personally responsible that he stood before the school division's assembled teaching staff to break the news in person and wept following the announcement.
Doyle's sudden passing in 1942 resulted in tributes from school board and civic leaders lauding his "outstanding personality" and "sound judgement." His death received newspaper coverage befitting his contributions as a community leader. Schools were dismissed early on the day of his funeral so teachers could attend.
"Few citizens, indeed, have made as great a contribution to the life of this city as has the late Mr. Doyle," said Saskatoon Mayor Stephen MacEachern upon Doyle's passing. "Because of his wise administration, the board weathered the storms of the depression better, perhaps, than any other municipal institution in the West."